Atlanta and Cleveland, the two teams with the worst records in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, will face each other on Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.
The Hawks will travel to play Cleveland in the second meeting between the two clubs. Cleveland prevailed 121-118 on Dec. 23. The two teams will face each other two more times, one of them the last game of the season.
Both clubs have made changes since their previous meeting, particularly at center. The new faces have already made an impact for each team.
Cleveland acquired Andre Drummond from the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline. In his first game with the Cavaliers on Sunday, Drummond scored 19 points, had 14 rebounds and connected on two 3-pointers. However, it didn’t have an impact on the game, which saw the Cavaliers lose 133-92 to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers have lost their last six games.
Drummond said his trade should be viewed through a long-range lens.
“We’re not looking at the scoreboard,” Drummond said afterwards. “I said it when I first got here in the locker room. I don’t care about the record. I don’t care about the scoreboard. I just care about, did we get better today? My goal is to push these guys and keep them positive, continue to work hard and show no quit on this season.”
Drummond joined the team on Saturday and participated in some drills, but hardly knew much about the system when he took the floor on Sunday.
“We had no practice time,” Drummond said. “So it was expected for us to come out and look lost, obviously because we were trying to figure out plays. I didn’t really know many plays yet.”
Dewayne Dedmon, the center that Atlanta picked up from the Sacramento Kings at the deadline, did not have a similar problem. He played the two previous seasons with the Hawks before leaving as a free agent. Dedmon spent last season under current Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, which made it easier for him to get adjusted.
“Just coming back, being a veteran leader for the young guys, try to help them out and have my two cents here and there,” Dedmon said. “So just trying to help the young guys out.”
In his two games with the Hawks, Dedmon has totaled 24 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots.He averaged 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 34 games with Sacramento.
Atlanta also picked up two other centers before the deadline. Former Houston Rockets big man Clint Capela is expected to return soon after the break from a heel injury, but there is no expected timetable for the availability of former Portland Trail Blazer Skal Labissiere (knee).
The Hawks are slowly starting to get players back in the lineup. Cam Reddish returned Monday after missing four games with a concussion. Jeff Teague and De’Andre Hunter both played through ankle issues, but DeAndre Bembry remains out with right hand neuritis.
Atlanta lost to Orlando 135-126 on Monday. The Hawks showed obvious fatigue in the fourth quarter after needing two overtimes to beat the New York Knicks in the front end of a back-to-back.
–Field Level Media