NBA Playoff Preview: Cavaliers vs Hawks

By playing good fundamental defense, LeBron James might not always be stopped, but can be slowed down. Photo Courtesy: Blitz Weekly
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will have their hands full with the Atlanta Hawks.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

By Joslyn Mitchell

The Cavaliers made their first big move by bringing LeBron “The King” James back to Ohio. In the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Cavs swept the Boston Celtics with an ending score of 101-93. Second round, with a bit more of a struggle, they managed to defeat the Chicago Bulls with an ending score of 94-73. Between their main players King James and Kyrie Irving, they are bound to shake things up with Atlanta. If by any chance the Cavs think this is going to be a second sweep, they have another thing coming. Atlanta, the #1 team, defeated the Brooklyn Nets in Game 6 with an ending score of ¬†111-86. When they moved on to Round 2 they zapped John Wall and the Wizards with a wrestling ending score of 94-91.

Is it the Cavaliers to Lose?
Now these two teams have advanced to the third round of the playoffs. They are four wins away from the NBA Finals. The #1 team, Atlanta Hawks, will go head-to-head with the #2 team, Cleveland Cavaliers, in the Eastern Conference Finals; but the real question is which team is the most capable of escalating. Simple answer. It’s the Cavaliers: Although the Cavaliers are second best, they’re shooting for best overall. Since The King came back the Cavs offense has been superb. As a team, the Cavs, are averaging 103.1 points per game, 22.1 assists per game, 98.7 points allowed with a 43.0 rebound average. Their leading scorer, LeBron James, averages 25.3 points per game, 7.4 assists with a 48.8 field goal percentage, making him the leader offensively. Defensively, when he was playing; Kevin Love carried the team in rebounding with an average of 9.7 per game; following LeBron. With their good team work and averages they will definitely make the Hawks earn their money. Since Kevin Love is out and Kyrie Irving is sketchy, the Cavaliers are leaning on an unexpected person by the name of Tristan Thompson. In the last game, Thompson had 13 points and 17 rebounds. He was a big help in the Cavaliers getting through their struggles with the Bulls. I believe that Thompson will push Atlanta’s Pero Antic. As for their offense, the Cavs, are doing an amazing job. they should continue to drive and take it to the basket because between Irving and LeBron, it is very rare to stop them without them drawing a foul. They should maybe do more of man-to-man defense instead of zone because from the second round that is where most of the Bulls got their points. If the Cavaliers play man-to-man defense and continue to drive, they are more than ready to defeat the Hawks. ¬†Hawks: Even though they struggled to through round 1 and 2, the Hawks managed to make to the final 4. As far as the ofense, they have Paul Millsap averaging 16.7 points per game; Jeff Teague making 7.0 assists per game; and Al Horford with a 53.8 field goal percentage. If they continue to keep their stats up, scoring points won’t be a problem. Defensivley, I think they should pay very close attention to the paint because the Cavs have some know drivers and pick-n-roll players such as James, Irving, and Smith. Most of their points can come from there but the cavaliers are also known for their stupendous three pointers. I would suggest have a specific defender on the best three point shooters and have the center and forward guard the paint in a zone. If they want a shot at the championship, I will say Millsap will have the most impact. He has to be able to break the Cavs defense and drop some points. If the #1 team continues to play #1, then they should have little to no problem challenging leBron and the Cavs. In conclusion, I do believe that this is going to be one of the best series for the finals this season. Although Alanta Hawks are ranked #1 they have struggled horribly with the 5th and 8th seed, meaning they will most definitely have to step their game up for the 2nd seed. the Cavs are really going toneed to stay focus and play as a team to win this overall. I do believenthe last two will be Golden State and Cleveland with Cleveland winning all. The series kicks off on Wednesday; so be tooned to and lets see how my prediction works out.

Upcoming Schedule
Game 1: Wed., May 20, at Atlanta, 7:30 CT (TNT)
Game 2: Fri., May 22, at Atlanta, 7:30 CT (TNT)
Game 3: Sun., May 24, at Cleveland, 7:30 CT (TNT)
Game 4: Tue., May 26, at Cleveland, 7:30 CT (TNT)
Game 5: Thu., May 28, at Atlanta, 7:30 CT (TNT)*
Game 6: Sat., May 30, at Cleveland, 7:30 CT (TNT)*
Game 7: Mon., June 1, at Atlanta, 7:30 CT (TNT)*
* if necessary