Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 28th 2023

Each playing their third game in four days, the Atlanta Hawks and Cavaliers meet in Cleveland on Tuesday in the final East Group A game for both teams in the NBA in-season tournament.

The Cavaliers (2-1) have a narrow chance to advance while the Hawks (1-2) have been eliminated.

In an up-and-down week for Atlanta, point guard Trae Young averaged 35 points per game and shot 50 percent — 46-for-92 from the field and 24-for-48 on 3-pointers.

Young’s most recent dazzling offensive display came on Sunday in a 113-103 loss to the Celtics, when he poured in a team-high 33 points and added seven assists in the second game of a back-to-back.

“I had my shot going early in the game,” Young said. “I’m going to stay aggressive regardless of what I end up shooting. … It was tough after that first half. You could tell that some guys had heavy legs. It’s going to happen on back-to-back nights.”

Even with Young’s stat-stuffing week, the Hawks dropped two of their four games with the defensive side of the ball continuing to be a problem.

Atlanta allowed 130.8 points per contest in those games, including a 157-152 loss to the Pacers, which was the highest combined point total (309) in a regulation game since 1995.

The already-struggling Hawks defense was dealt a major blow on Saturday against the Wizards, when Atlanta’s Jalen Johnson suffered a left wrist fracture that will sideline the third-year player for 4-to-6 weeks.

Johnson is having a breakout season, averaging career highs of 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Johnson leads the team in defensive rebounds and is second in blocks per contest.

“Jalen is big, and he’s one of our better defensive rebounders,” Atlanta coach Quin Snyder said. “Not having him is going to impact that, no question.”

Cleveland is coming off a back-to-back of its own, as it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, before rebounding against Toronto in a 105-102 win on Sunday.

The win over the Raptors was aided by Darius Garland, who led the team with 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Garland stepped up in what was an uncharacteristically bad shooting night for Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell, who is averaging 27 points per game this season, was held to just 10 points on 4-for-17 from the field against Toronto.

“Donovan knows we have the ultimate belief in him,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The law of averages means the next coming games, there is going to be an explosion.

“We believe in him, his teammates believe in him, but what’s important is that his teammates stepped up on a night where he didn’t have a great shooting night.”

Mitchell is trying to follow up on a 2022-23 season that saw him produce career-highs in points per game, as well as field-goal, 3-point and free-throw percentage.

Tuesday will be the first matchup between the teams this season before Atlanta heads back to Cleveland Dec. 16.

Atlanta has won five of seven games over Cleveland, dating to the beginning of the 2021-22 season.

-Field Level Media