NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 4th
(All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (31-45) at Atlanta Hawks (32-42), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks are in a huge fight to make the
postseason, needing every win they can get, starting Friday night at home
against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that can still catch them for the last
The Hawks have lost seven of their last eight and fell percentage points
behind the New York Knicks for the eighth and final seed in the Eastern
Conference playoff race. (New York hosts the Washington Wizards on Friday
Atlanta's seventh loss in eight games came Wednesday night at home against the
Chicago Bulls. The Hawks fell, 105-92, to lose for the fourth time in their
last five home games.
"We still feel like we have a chance. Still got a lot more games left, try to
tough it out and see what happens," All-Star forward Paul Millsap said.
Millsap had 22 points and 11 boards for Atlanta, followed by Jeff Teague, who
finished with 21 points and eight assists. Kyle Korver chipped in 12 points
and no other Hawks player scored in double figures.
The Hawks have five of their last eight remaining games at home. Atlanta is
21-15 as the host this season.
The Cavaliers have won two straight and five of their last six. With all of
the focus on the Hawks and Knicks duking it out for the final spot in the
postseason, the Cavs are just two games out.
Kyrie Irving returned from an eight-game absence and scored 17 points to go
with eight assists and six rebounds to lead the Cavaliers to a 119-98 drubbing
of the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Irving suffered a biceps injury in Cleveland's loss to the Los Angeles
Clippers on March 16.
"I felt good. I was just really excited to be back out there with my
teammates. We just had a great rhythm," said Irving. "I wasn't trying to force
it I just tried to let the game come to me and play off my teammates the best
Dion Waiters poured in a game-high 26 points while Spencer Hawes and Tristan
Thompson donated 20 points apiece for the Cavaliers. Jarrett Jack finished
with 13 as Cleveland shot 57.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-
The Hawks have won both meetings this season with the Cavs, three in a row
overall and 11 of the last 13. Atlanta has won six of the last seven as the
host in this series.
04/04 10:22:58 ET