It’s win or go home time for the Cavaliers.
The Hawks, who entered the tournament as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference, advanced to the game by beating the 10th-seeded Charlotte Hornets 132-103 on Wednesday. The Cavs, as the higher seed, will host the game. It’s their second chance to win one game and advance to the playoffs proper after losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
The winner of this game will face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 of that series will take place Sunday in Miami with a 1 p.m. tipoff.
In the regular season, the Cavs went 1-3 against the Hawks in the regular season, including losses in the final three matchups between the team. In the fourth matchup — which took place on March 31 — Cleveland lost to Atlanta 131-107.
The biggest question mark for the Cavs going into the game is Jarrett Allen’s availability. Currently, the team has not submitted an injury report for the game — so it’s not clear if Allen’s status for the game will change or not. Allen has been out since March 6 since fracturing his finger.
“I can’t give you an exact timeline,” Cavs head coach J.B.Bickerstaff said before the Cavs’ regular season finale last Sunday. “He’s doing more and more with that hand. It’s just a matter of time.
“It’s a structure thing first and foremost. You always want to make sure that it’s as healthy as it possibly can be. In his position, the banging that he does, on the rim, like blocking shots, all those things. Then it becomes pain tolerance. Then strengthening and his ability to use that finger. But he’s making steps. It’ll be one of those things where the day will come and he’ll be ready to go.”