The best two teams in the Eastern Conference all season — the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers are set to square off in what is sure to be one of the most entertaining and competitive series thus far in the east playoffs. The Cavs are coming off a blowout elimination victory against the Chicago Bulls, while the Hawks escaped a close game 6 versus the Wizards in which the game was decided by three-points.
The Hawks own the regular season match-up versus the Cavs with a 3-1 record, but as we all know, the postseason brings an increased level of intensity and focus among all teams. LeBron James is all to familiar with the bright lights that make up the conference finals as he is a multiple NBA title winner and Finals MVP, while virtually the entire Hawks team will stand in unfamiliar territory (with the exception of Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap).
If there’s any two teams that deserve to be in the position they are in now it would have to be the Hawks and the Cavs, as both teams have a slew of tough and gritty players throughout their entire roster, players ready to sacrifice it all physically on the court for the sake of a victory.
But in the end, there can be only one, so which team will rise to the occasion and advance to the 2015 NBA finals?
Eastern Conference Finals Predictions: Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers highhandedly defeated the one team I picked to win the Eastern Conference finals (Chicago Bulls), so its only right that I pick them to advance to the 2015 NBA finals. LeBron James has become the ultimate facilitator this series, and I can’t see any player on the Hawks containing Timofey Mozgov in the low post– he’s just too big and physical.
Bench Players will play a huge role
The Cavs bench has paid huge dividends in the wake if an injured Kevin Love (out for remainder of the postseason) and Kyrie Irving who has been hobbled by a right foot strain and left knee tendinitis which has resulted in limited minutes for the young star point guard. James Jones has been clutch from the three-point line, Matthew Dellavedova has proven to be a defensive nightmare, and Iman Shumpert has been one of the most efficient offensive and defensive players for the Cavs during round-two of the playoffs. To expect anything less from these guys would be asinine.
Lets not forget about the Hawks who have decimated the East all season not to mention the Cavs. Of all the teams in the playoffs, I would have to say that the Hawks have the deepest roster. Not only are their starters superbly talented, but their second unit headlined by Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Mike Scott, and Pero Antic can go toe-to-toe with any starting lineup in the league. The second unit has been a huge reason the Hawks are among the postseason teams still on the road to reach the NBA finals.
Thus far, the tougher team has advanced to the next round, and I think the Cavs have really come to form during the playoffs. I think this series will go six games, but the Cavs will win the series 4-2.
How the Hawks can trump the Cavs
The Hawks bench will be the key if they wish to break the spirit of the Cavs, and I believe they have a slight edge going into this series. Dennis Schroder will have an offensive field day against Dellavedova, and I think he will be one of the most important players coming off the bench. If you’re a Hawks fan, you should be pretty confident going into this series.