Cleveland Cavaliers: Key matchups against the Atlanta Hawks

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 5: Taurean Prince
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 5: Taurean Prince /

The Cleveland Cavaliers (14-7) will take on the Atlanta Hawks (4-16) at 7:30 pm EST. They will look to add another notch to their impressive nine-game win streak.

In their first matchup of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost a close one 115-117. Where seven of the nine Hawks players logged double-digit points, and Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 28 points. The Hawks shot 44% from deep and took advantage of then-struggling Cavaliers defense. LeBron lead Cleveland with 26 points and 13 rebounds. While Korver and Wade weren’t too far behind with 23 and 25 points, respectively. The rest of the Cavaliers struggled to score, and didn’t help much defensively either.

The Hawks will be facing a defensively-improved Cavaliers team. The Cavaliers have been among the top 10 defenses during their nine-game win streak. In fact, in the past three games they have kept teams to under 100 points. The struggling Hawks are coming off a 34-point loss to the Raptors and have lost eight of their last 10 games.

While the Hawks don’t seem to have a clear-cut star on their team, Dennis Schroder is their best player. So, the Cavaliers must look to limit his effect on the game. Schroder is averaging 19.7 points and 6.8 assists per game on 45.1% shooting.

More from King James Gospel

Derrick Rose took on the challenge of guarding Schroder in the first game, but with him out it will be Jose Calderon to start the game. With Calderon playing 13 minutes per game he will not be the only one assigned with guarding Schroder. I expect JR Smith to guard him for most of the night.

With Dewayne Dedmon ruled out for the game, Ersan Ilyasova or Luke Babbit should draw the start. Neither are traditional centers, rather they space the floor. Kevin Love should have a clear advantage on the offensive end of the floor. I expect him to have a much better game than he did in his first appearance against the Hawks. Love left the game early playing only 18 minutes and shooting 1-for-6 from the floor.

However, Love needs to stay focused on the defensive end and not allow Ilyasova or Babbit space to get their shot off comfortably. Hopefully, Love can build off his 38-point performance last game and continue to show improvement in his role as a Center.

Next, we have LeBron James vs Taurean Prince. Prince is a solid young player who, in his last outing against the Cavs, had 17 points and shot 3 of 6 from 3-point land. While LeBron, unsurprisingly, out-played him I expect LeBron to have a standout performance following his first ever ejection.

This team has no real threat to defending LeBron in any way. It doesn’t help that this team doesn’t seem to be interested in defense at all, ranking 28th in the league.

Lastly, the Cleveland Cavaliers bench play continues to astonish, and this game should be no different. If the Cavaliers take this game seriously and continue to play defense at a high level they should have no problem winning their 10th straight. The Cavs tend to play lackadaisical against teams that they do not take seriously.

Must Read: Three trades the Cleveland Cavaliers can make to acquire Marc Gasol

With the Hawks having a record of 4-16, there is a possibility the Cavs show disinterest. If that is the case, then the Hawks could surprise them and the win streak may come to an end.