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Pregame: Hawks (17-9) at Cavs (7-23)

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 28, 2012
Smith, Josh
Josh Smith is the Hawks' leading scorer at 17 points per game. The Hawks enter the Q tonight on a two-game winning streak and holding the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Anderson Varejao (knee) out; Hawks: Devin Harris (foot) out, Ivan Johnson (illness) doubtful

Officials: Bill Kennedy, Curtis Blair, Derrick Collins

 

Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Kyrie Irving 6-3, 191 22.9 3.7 5.5
SG Dion Waiters 6-4, 221 14.4 2.3 3.4
SF Alonzo Gee 6-6, 219 11.6 3.9 2.0
PF Tristan Thompson 6-9, 227 8.9 8.3 1.0
C Tyler Zeller 7-0, 250 7.7 5.2 0.9

 

 

Hawks probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Jeff Teague 6-2, 181 13.1 2.4 6.5
SG Lou Williams 6-1, 175 14.5 2.0 3.3
SF Kyle Korver 6-7, 212 10.6 4.0 1.6
PF Josh Smith 6-9, 225 17.0 8.3 3.6
C Al Horford 6-10, 250 15.7 9.8 3.2

 

Notebook

* Anderson Varejao has already been ruled out for tonight's game against the Hawks and Saturday's game at the Brooklyn Nets. This makes at least six games Varejao will miss with a bruised right knee that has been slow to heal, but coach Byron Scott said this morning he doesn't think this injury is more serious than initially believed. "The spot where he got hit is such a tender area that it takes more time to heal than we thought," Scott said. "I'm not real concerned about it and the (training staff) and doctors don't seem concerned about it. It's just going to take a little more time."

* Varejao had 18 rebounds in the first meeting against the Hawks a couple of weeks ago and was a big reason the Cavs dominated the boards 49-28. Varejao still leads the league in rebounding at 14.4 per game.

* The Cavs optioned Samardo Samuels to the Development League today. It's curious timing, given the injury to Varejao. But the Cavs obviously believe they have enough front court depth with Luke Walton and Jon Leuer. Samuels has not played in either of the last two games.

* The Cavs have cut ties with Luke Harangody for good. His D-League rights were traded today, along with a third-round pick in next year's D-League draft, to Fort Wayne for JaJuan Johnson and a first-round pick. The Cavs' front office also runs the Charge, so the team obviously likes him. But they do not own his NBA rights. He is still an NBA free agent.

* Johnson was the first overall pick in the D-League draft this season. He was a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2011 (27th overall) and averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds last season. He was released by the Houston Rockets near the end of training camp this season and went unclaimed, forcing him to go the D-League route.

* Johnson has size (6-10) and the Cavs obviously have an interest in him. But to add him to their 15-man roster, they'd have to take someone off it. Samuels is playing on a non-guaranteed contract this season, but I don't think they're ready to give up on him yet. 

* Scott raved about Donald Sloan today after shootaround and said both he and GM Chris Grant were hanging their heads after releasing him, particularly having to do it on Christmas Day. The Cavs had no choice in that matter, however, since waiver claim rules dictated they had to make a roster move by 5 p.m. Tuesday in order to claim Shaun Livingston. But Sloan, as always, was a true pro and said he understood. Full disclosure: Sloan was one of my favorite guys in the Cavs' locker room. He's a guy that squeezes the most talent out of what he has. Almost every time I walked into the locker room, he was either on the court or at his locker watching game film on his laptop. Good guy.

* Hawks coach Larry Drew acknowledged this morning to Atlanta reporters his main focus tonight is stopping the Cavs' dribble penetration. The Cavs scored 46 points against the Hawks in the win at Atlanta on Nov. 30 -- and that was without Kyrie Irving. Dribble penetration has been a problem for the Hawks at various points this season.

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