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Preview: Hawks, Cavaliers to battle for East’s No. 8 seed

Win or go home, part two.

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

The Atlanta Hawks will be on the road on Friday night vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in the final game on the Eastern Conference’s side of the Play-In Tournament. The Hawks picked up a huge 132-103 win at home on Wednesday vs. the Charlotte Hornets, but will now have to go into a hostile environment of their own.

The Cavaliers lost their first Play-In game vs. the Brooklyn Nets, but get to host this game due to being the higher seed in the regular season. Atlanta went 3-1 vs. Cleveland during the regular season, going 1-1 in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse and 2-0 in State Farm Arena vs. the Cavs.

The Hawks were just 16-25 on the road this season, but one of those wins was in Cleveland as mentioned above. Regardless, Atlanta was a much better team at home this season and this game is going to be a dogfight. The Cavaliers were 25-16 on their home floor during the regular season, and if they’re able to get All-Star center Jarrett Allen back in any capacity that will be a big boost.

Trae Young will look to continue to anchor Atlanta’s offensive attack, while Darius Garland will look to do the same on the opposing side. Whether Allen plays or not, the Hawks will need another big performance from Clint Capela vs. a very good Cleveland frontcourt. Capela had 15 points and 17 rebounds Wednesday in the win over the Hornets, continuing his fantastic play down the stretch of the season.

The Cavaliers’ frontcourt features rookie of the year candidate Evan Mobley, who is among the most versatile bigs in the NBA despite it being his first season. The pairing of him and Allen was very difficult for opponents to deal with inside this season. Cleveland also has Kevin Love, who similarly to Danilo Gallinari can engulf into flames offensively at any given moment.

Injuries

For the Hawks, Bogdan Bogdanovic (left ankle sprain) is questionable, while John Collins (foot, finger) and Lou Williams (back) remain out.

The Cavaliers list the star center Allen (finger fracture) as questionable to return from an extended absence, and he could potentially be a game-time decision as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported Allen is “50-50” and is going to try to suit up.

Collin Sexton and Dean Wade remain out for Cleveland.

Odds

The Hawks are a 1-point favorite on the road vs. the Cavaliers as of early Friday morning. The point total is sitting at o/u 223.

Game Info

Game Date & Time: Fri. Apr. 15, 7:30 pm ET

Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

TV: ESPN

Streaming: ESPN App/Espn.com

Radio: 92.9 The Game, ESPN Radio

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