|3:00 PM PT4:00 PM MT5:00 PM CT6:00 PM ET22:00 GMT6:00 3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST2:00 UAE (+1)23:0018:00 ET4:00 PM CT21:00 , October 23, 2021
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 16,846
Hawks look to maintain strong defense vs. Cavs
Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers
- Only 70 points separate the Hawks and Cavaliers in their 244 all-time meetings (including playoffs) with the Hawks leading the series 124 games to 120 but Cleveland having outscored Atlanta by an average of .3 points per game
- Atlanta beat the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 113 to 87 in their opening game of the season. That 26-point blowout was the largest margin of victory in a home opener in Hawks franchise history.
- The Hawks' Cam Reddish led both teams in scoring in Atlanta's opening win over Dallas, with 20 points in 21 minutes. That was the first time in his career that he led both teams outright in scoring in any game.
- In their win on Thursday, the Hawks shot fewer than 10 free throws (8-for-9) for only the second time since Trae Young joined the team prior to the 2018-19 season. The Hawks also attempted nine free throws against the Lakers in March of this year.
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- Hornets score team-record 158 in rout
- Morant has 41, Grizzlies overcome Murray
- Jokic, Rivers help Nuggets hold off Nets
- Cavs put Bucks on notice with 115-99 win
The Atlanta Hawks hope the defensive effort they produced in their opening game will carry over when they make their first road appearance of the season against the winless Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
With a balanced scoring attack and stellar defensive work, Atlanta defeated the Dallas Mavericks 113-87 on Thursday. The Cavaliers dropped a 123-112 decision to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday in their home opener, dropping Cleveland to 0-2.
Atlanta's defense was led by De'Andre Hunter, who is healthy after being limited to 23 games last season because of a knee injury. Hunter was the main defender assigned to Dallas star Luka Doncic and limited him to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
"We can tell Dre, 'Sic 'em,' on anybody and he's up for the challenge, running over screens, getting hit, doing whatever he needs to do to be a great defender," Atlanta forward John Collins said.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan said, "He really set the tone for us by really just making (Doncic) work."
The other eye-opening performance in the Atlanta opener came from Cam Reddish, who missed the final 42 games of the 2020-21 regular season with a right Achilles injury. Reddish is adding more offensive skills to his noted defensive prowess, making him a more complete player. He scored a team-leading 20 points off the bench against Dallas.
"I thought he played a beautiful game," McMillan said. "He showed he can play on both sides of the floor."
Hunter may be asked to guard Cleveland's Collin Sexton on Saturday. Sexton grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, where he starred at Pebblebrook High School before going to Alabama. He scored 71 points in the three games against Atlanta last season, including 29 in a 112-111 win on Feb. 23 in Cleveland.
In two games this season, Sexton has scored 50 points, including 33 against Charlotte.
Cleveland veteran Kevin Love needs 11 points to pass World B. Free (6,329 points) for 11th on Cleveland's all-time scoring list and five defensive rebounds to pass John "Hot Rod" Williams (3,049) for fifth on the team's all-time list.
The Cavs committed 19 turnovers against Charlotte, which led to 34 points for the Hornets and contributed greatly to the outcome of the game.
"They're live-ball turnovers," Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "It's not like they're shot-clock violations and the ball is going out of bounds. We're turning it over and giving it to a team that wants to play fast and get up the floor quickly. That's putting too much stress on our defense. You can't survive those."
Cleveland led Charlotte 59-54 at the half but got outscored 69-53 in the second half.
"We just need to be more solid with the basketball and take the play that's in front of us," Bickerstaff said. "We find ourselves in tight games and now we're trying to press and make the play instead of letting the game come to us."
The Cavaliers won two of three games against the Hawks last season, with the clubs splitting the two contests played in Atlanta. The Hawks have lost on each of their past four visits to Cleveland.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 23, 2021