This just in: The Atlanta Hawks are way better than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
OK, I lied. This wasn’t “just in.” We’ve known — or should have known — as much for more than two months. But somehow the messenger (mostly ESPN, which has transferred its love for all things LeBron from South Beach to the Cuyhoga River) kept insisting that the standings meant nothing.
This just in: The standings mean something.
The Hawks are 49-12. The Cavs are 39-25. That’s a difference of 11 1/2 games. That’s not even close, and neither are these teams. The Hawks have won the past three games against Cleveland without undue strain. Friday night’s 106-97 was actually rudimentary: The home side got way ahead early, then fell slightly behind for a minute or so, then won breezing.
So now we know: If the Cavs are indeed, as many have claimed, the Real Power in the NBA East, they have a funny way of showing it. LeBron James had the least influential 18-point, eight-assist game in the history of basketball. He made nearly twice as many turnovers as baskets and was clearly perturbed that the Hawks guarded him so closely. (Is he not The King? Are mere mortals allowed to jostle his regal presence?)
In sum, there was nothing to see here that we didn’t already know — or should have known. The Hawks are really good. The Cavs are less good. If they meet in the playoffs, the Hawks will win then, too.
From myajc, here’s the Hawks-Cavs game column: Ho, hum. Hawks make short work of another “challenger.”
Also from myajc, here’s Sunday’s print column: Why the Hawks are the team to beat in the East.