The Atlanta Hawks will try to end a three-game losing streak on Wednesday night when they visit Quicken Loans Arena to face the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Hawks, who have lost four of five, fell in Minnesota to the Timberwolves on Tuesday night, 108-103. The T-Wolves smoked the Hawks in the first half, winning the first quarter, 30-20 and the second stanza, 28-22.
Atlanta fought back in the second half, especially late in the third quarter. The Hawks won the final frame, 32-23, but by that point it was too late to amount to a victory.
"We can not wait for a half before we start playing," said head coach Larry Drew. "That's clearly what happened tonight."
Drew called a team meeting after a loss at home to the Boston Celtics on Saturday. The get-together didn't have the desired effect as the Hawks have lost three of four on the road.
Against Minnesota, the Atlanta big men were solid. Josh Smith had 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Al Horford also had a double-double with 19 points and 11 boards.
The Cavaliers head into Wednesday night's tilt losers of two straight and five of their last six. Their most recent setback came Monday in Chicago against the Bulls, 118-92.
Dion Waiters led the way for the Cavs with 18 points off the bench. Kyrie Irving and C.J. Miles netted 15 apiece and Tristan Thompson chipped in 14 points.
The Cavaliers believed they were getting some reinforcements for Wednesday night's game. Anderson Varejao, the NBA's leading rebounder, had missed the last 10 games with a bruised right knee, but was expected to practice on Tuesday with the expectation of playing against the Hawks.
Head coach Byron Scott announced at a shoot around on Tuesday that Varejao wasn't able to go. Scott also said his status hasn't changed.
"I'm disappointed because he was having an All-Star type year," Scott said at practice on Tuesday. "You want him to play because of the type of player he is and what he means to our team."
Scott said he wasn't sure if Varejao would accompany the team when they left on a western trip on Friday, starting in Denver. Cleveland plays five on the road, where they are 5-16 this season, as opposed to 3-12 at home.
The two teams have split the two matchups this season, with each team winning in the other's building. The Hawks had won seven straight before the Cavs won on Nov. 30.