NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 28th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (17-9) at Cleveland Cavaliers (7-23), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Cavaliers try to extend their season high winning streak to three games when they entertain the Atlanta Hawks Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and is coming off Wednesday's 87-84 triumph over the Washington Wizards. Tristan Thompson came through in the clutch with the go-ahead basket with 24.4 seconds remaining in the game and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Kyrie Irving netted a game-high 26 points to go with six rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, whose current win streak comes on the heels of a six-game slide. Daniel Gibson and Alonzo Gee scored 10 points apiece in the win.
"We were able to sneak one out tonight," Thompson said after his fourth straight double-double. "(Wizards leading scorer) Jordan Crawford missed a good shot there at the end. It looked like it was going in, but now we have two (wins) in a row and we just have to keep getting better."
Thompson is averaging 13.0 points on .500 shooting and 12.8 rebounds in his last four games. Irving has scored 20-plus points in 13 of his 19 games played this season and leads the Cavs with 22.9 ppg.
Cavs big man Anderson Varejao has missed four straight games and is questionable versus the Hawks. He has recorded averages of 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds this season.
Cleveland will try to halt a three-game losing streak at home and owns a disappointing 3-9 ledger as the host.
Meanwhile, the Hawks will play eight of their next 11 games on the road and are 7-4 as the guest this season. They have enjoyed a solid December so far, going 8-4 in the month.
Atlanta has won its last two games and recently posted a 126-119 double- overtime triumph versus the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Josh Smith led the charge with 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while Al Horford compiled 22 points and 10 boards. The Hawks are now 7-0 when Smith and Horford post double-doubles in the same game.
"We had things under control, but I think we got away from what was working for us," Horford said. "They made plays. (Will) Bynum was great, and I think he was the one who that propelled them to tie the game. I'm just happy we won."
Lou Williams, who started for a second straight game after coming off the bench in the first 24 contests, added 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Hawks, who made 46.9 percent of their shots but sank only 11- of-33 3-pointers. Jeff Teague had 17 points and handed 11 assists in the win.
The Hawks had an 18-11 advantage in the second overtime, but were outscored by a 39-20 difference in the fourth quarter. Atlanta has been tough on defense this season, ranking eighth in points allowed (94.8) and 13th in opponent field goal percentage (.439). It has allowed just two teams this season to shoot better than .500 in a game.
Hawks guard Devin Harris will not play Friday night because of a sore left foot and has missed four straight games.
Atlanta, which is 11-4 against teams from the East, suffered a 113-111 loss to the Cavaliers on Nov. 30 this season at home, ending a seven-game winning streak in the series. The Hawks have won three straight in the Forest City.
12/28 10:40:47 ET