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Preview: Hawks return home for back-to-back vs. Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks return home Thursday for a big matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks are three games behind Cleveland in the Eastern Conference standings, and while catching them may not be extremely likely, Atlanta is just a half game behind the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 9 seed. The Hawks will clinch a spot in the Play-in with a win on Thursday, eliminating the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards.

The Hawks made easy work of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, as Trae Young scored 41 points in three quarters in the end-to-end win. Atlanta scored a season-high 85 points in the first half in the game, which is also a franchise record within the shot clock era. The Hawks have been unconscious from three-point-range over their last two games, making 35-of-74 (47.3%) triples across the two wins.

Cleveland will also be on a back-to-back on Thursday after losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. The Cavaliers are very banged up, as Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are both sidelined in addition to others. Atlanta will be favorites in this game despite not being at full strength themselves. The Hawks may be a little thin in the frontcourt depending on if Danilo Gallinari suits up or not, but either way they won’t be as shorthanded inside as Cleveland is.

The Cavaliers have lost six out of their last ten games and slipped into the Play-In Tournament as the No. 7 seed entering play on Thursday. Atlanta could pull to within two games of Cleveland with a win, which would bunch up the Play-in race in the Eastern Conference quite a bit with the Hornets and Brooklyn Nets still in between the Hawks and Cavs in the standings.

Injuries

Gallinari (right elbow contusion) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee soreness) are questionable, while Lou Williams (ankle, back), Jalen Johnson (concussion protocols) and John Collins (foot, finger) will be out on Thursday.

The Cavaliers will be without Rajon Rondo, Dean Wade and RJ Nembhard Jr. on Thursday in addition to Mobley, Allen and Collin Sexton.

Odds

The Hawks are 6-point favorites vs. the Cavaliers as of Thursday afternoon. The point total for this game is currently sitting at o/u 230.

Game Info

Game Date & Time: Wed. Mar. 30, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: BSSE, League Pass (out of market)

Streaming: Bally Sports, League Pass (out of market)

Radio: 92.9 The Game

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