Hawks try to maintain good vibes on road, visit Cavs
The Atlanta Hawks will try to continue their road success on Monday when they travel to Cleveland, where the Cavs have lost only once this season.
Atlanta has won two of its last three road games, most recently handing Milwaukee its first home loss of the season last Monday. The Hawks are 4-3 overall on the road this season. But Cleveland is 6-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, their best start at home since the 2016-17 season.
Atlanta is coming off a dramatic 124-122 overtime win over Toronto on Saturday in which rookie AJ Griffin got a lob pass from Trae Young and dropped in the game-winner at the buzzer. Cleveland has won two straight after Sunday’s 113-87 victory over the Miami Heat.
This is the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. Atlanta won three of four games against Cleveland last year and has won three in a row in the series.
Cleveland had a hard time slowing down Young last year. He averaged 32.5 points and scored 41 in a victory on Feb. 15. Young had 33 points and 12 assists against Toronto and is averaging 27.3 points and 9.5 assists on the season.
“We just kept playing, kept fighting,” Young said. “It’s a long game, so you can’t stop at any time of it. We knew we had a chance to get back in the game. We just kept playing.”
Dejounte Murray is averaging 21.1 points and 7.4 assists and Clint Capela is averaging 11.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and has a team-leading eight double-doubles.
Atlanta has scored at least 100 points in each of its first 16 games for just the fourth time in franchise history, and in 37 straight, the longest active streak in the NBA.
“We talk about it all the time, the three C’s — being calm, being clear about what you need to do going down the stretch and being connected, and I thought we did all three of those things (against the Raptors),” Atlanta head coach Nate McMillan said. “To win that game, we didn’t panic. And I thought our guys did a really good job of being patient, getting to our spots and then getting the matchup we wanted.”
Cleveland’s Darius Garland scored 25 points in the win over Miami. He is averaging 35 points over the last four games, which included a 51-point performance against Minnesota on Nov. 13.
Garland had four 3-pointers on Sunday, which moved him past Mo Williams and into sole possession of 10th place on the Cavs’ all-time 3-point list. He’s now made 418 shots from deep, while Williams sunk 414.
Donovan Mitchell, who leads the team with 29.9 points per game, has scored 30-plus in nine of his last 14 games.
“There’s been a lot of learning, as a team and individually,” Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Guys are figuring out and understanding how they can help.”
The Cavs may be without Caris LeVert, who sat out the second half of Sunday’s game with a left ankle injury. Cleveland is missing Kevin Love, who sustained a hairline thumb fracture on Friday, and Dean Wade has missed five games with a knee infection.
–Field Level Media