A few more reasons why the Hawks will beat the Cavs

DeMarre Carroll unhorses The King. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

DeMarre Carroll unhorses The King. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

DeMarre Carroll unhorses The King. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

Back in March, DeMarre Carroll unhorsed The King. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

In today’s AJC, I pick the Atlanta Hawks to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games. As ever, I have my reasons, some of which are included in the aforementioned missive. Here are a few that weren’t.

1. I like Mike Budenholzer over David Blatt. The Blatt-is-in-over-his-head theme — or meme, if you’re under 25 — has been a tad overdone, but still: The guy did try to call a timeout he didn’t have at the end of a playoff game. That sounds like something Mike Smith would do. (Actually, Smitty’s most grievous error was calling a timeout he had but shouldn’t have used — against a team from Cleveland.)

2. I like the homecourt. If the series indeed goes seven, Game 7 will be staged here. In NBA history, home teams are 95-24 in Game 7s. That’s a winning percentage of .798. Only twice since 1982 has the road team won Game 7 in a conference final.

3. I like the Hawks’ health. Remember when we were sweating over Paul Millsap’s shoulder and Al Horford’s pinkie? Seems a while ago, doesn’t it? In the grand scheme, the Hawks have gotten through two rounds in splendid shape, especially when you consider that the Cavs have lost Kevin Love to shoulder surgery; that Kyrie Irving (various leg ailments) is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s Game 1 and that LeBron James (ankle) and Tristan Thompson (shoulder) were buffeted in their series against the Bulls.

4. I like that the Hawks are underdogs. The pressure won’t fall on the team that won 60 games and lapped the field in the NBA East. It will fall on the team with LeBron.

5. I like that LeBron is 30, not 22. Granted, he carried a much lesser Cleveland team to the finals in 2007 — where it was swept by San Antonio — and he’s still really good. But he’s not going to score 29 of his team’s final 30 points, as happened in a double-overtime victory over the Pistons in Game 5 that year. He made 39 percent of his shots in the six games against Chicago. On the day he hit the last-second shot that changed the series, he’d missed 20 of his previous 29. He’d still be the first player you’d pick if you were drafting a playoff roster, but he’s not quite what he was.

Equal time: I’ve talked with Bill Livingston, a columnist for the Plain Dealer who has worked in Cleveland as long as I’ve worked in Atlanta. He picks the Cavs. And esteemed former colleague Bud Shaw, now with the PD, picks the Cavs in six.

But, if memory serves: Bud picked the Indians to win the 1995 World Series. I picked the Braves. One of us was right.

Reader Comments 2

74 comments
DeadManWalking
DeadManWalking

for the past week, I've been thinking about this article. So sad. Maybe the article shouldn't have been published until the Hawks were up 3-1. Alas, this article will get swept away just like this series. Never count your Hawks before they're hatched.

Benjamin Urbanek
Benjamin Urbanek

Hahahahahaha! Lebron owns Atlanta! He's gonna be the first player in NBA history to average at least 30-10 and 10 in a playoff series! Yeah your right about the ISO ball not working but only for the Hawks since for some reason decided to play clevelands game. I got my broom all ready to go. I hope you got your tissues because it's over.

danny boyle
danny boyle

This is just fantastic projections, equivalent only to the snow storm of the century predicted to hit New York earlier this year (ended up at, yes, 0 inches) . on second thought, this collapse is far more spectacular.

Mike, shall you go back to gardening? I do hope you don't wear a hat...

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

If the Hawks stay focused for four quarters they can beat anybody, but the offense must stay consistent. No long lulls without scoring. Our guards must get in the paint and penetrate and Korver has to knock down the open three. Budenholzer must employ the all hands on deck philosophy. Go Hawks!

CL89
CL89

Look for the  monster Game 2 LeBron and by Game 4 you'll see the Cavs can't beat the Hawks. It always feels like this when LeBron is involved. This not the year to be playing Isoball

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@CL89 You forgot Irving can drop 50. Now, if you are saying Irving and James drop 50 at the same time this will get scary.

creative
creative

All the Atlanta fans are picking the Hawks and all the Cleveland fans are picking the Cavs.  This is too weird.  You guys are blowing my mind.  I need to get outta here.  

mdet
mdet

Korver is gonna bust out of his shooting slump.


creative
creative

@mdet i hope he does.  We need him to,  I am just an idiot, but maybe a shot fake every once and a while dribble by for a 15-18 footer.  Just a thought

scottarino
scottarino

Hawks in six. The Cavs will struggle with the Atl. defense. LBJ will get his stat line, but the rest of the Cadavers will be shut down. 

Benjamin Urbanek
Benjamin Urbanek

Yeah that almost happened. I like the confidence but you surely underestimated the cavs. Obviously you haven't been following anyone but Atlanta in the playoffs

Dezhao Huang
Dezhao Huang

Cavs win in 4. Write it down. LBJ is still the king!!!!!!!!!! Even though hawks are great, Cavs still has the greater chance to win.

Benjamin Urbanek
Benjamin Urbanek

Wow! Great call man, nobody thought that could happen but it's going to tonight. Impressive my man.

D-Block723
D-Block723

Hawk's are like all other Atlanta sports teams except the Dream, they do good in the regular season and flop in the playoffs. Critique the Cavs all you'll want, but they beat the second best defensive team without Kevin Love, a hurt Kyrie, but a supporting cast that has bought in to James' abilities as a leader. They beat the Bulls by 20 on their home court to close out the series. James is one of the greatest of all times and he will be no less dominant in this series. 


Count his misses as you will, he still averaged a super star studded 27.6 pts, 10.2 rebs, 8.8 asts, 1.4 steals and 1.8 blocks against the Bulls over the last five games. Insane numbers!!!!!! Strive for Greatness...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@D-Block723

Except for the Dream???

Say what?!

Uh, got news for you, Bud. The DREAM have FLOPPED in the playoffs, too--EVERY TIME they've been there.

Paul 7621
Paul 7621

Hawks haven't flopped in the playoffs. They got by Washington in 6 with no offense from Korver. If Korver gets his shot back, Hawks beat the Cavs.

TheCLEVE
TheCLEVE

@DrGonzo Gonzo...yes, for the playoffs to date, the Wizards were better than the Cavs.  So were the Hawks.  Wizards had a 98.4 defensive rating.  Hawks 98.2. 


The Cavs?  98.8.  Not much difference.  So what IS the difference?  Cavs have a 108.2 offensive rating - the best in the playoffs so far.  And they did it without Love, with a hobbled Kyrie, with a "less than efficient" Bron, and they did it despite playing against the number one defensive playoff team - the Bulls. 


Good point about the Spurs-style system giving Bron fits, but there are other weapons in TheCleve - much like the Hawks - no big names, just big performance.  No crack here.  No joy in Atlanta! Still Cavs in six.

read this
read this

Somebody better check the ball's air pressure...Don't want no ball deflate gate again.   PS...The Hawks will win cause "They Got Heart" ...Anyway the best thing that ever came out of Cleveland is KROGER STORES

jlrhoya
jlrhoya

@read this The Kroger Company is an American retailer founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in CincinnatiOhio. - Wikipedia


But, I do agree that LeBron is as hollow as a wiffle ball when it comes to compassion for the game and whatever city he plays in the current year, but the Hawks are showing true hearts and a desire to win for their city.

anotherdawg
anotherdawg

And one reason why the Hawks will lose:  Mark Bradley has picked them to win   (Sorry Mark, but in the past, when you write one of these, it's like the kiss of death)

hipdawg
hipdawg

@anotherdawg maybe they will play good enough to beat the king, because I hate when he does this.

movebob
movebob

Cavs in 5... ATL should have been out of it after struggling through the first two rounds. Excited for the series but ready for the finals.

Chris Bleile
Chris Bleile

@movebob AGREE 110%!!! Atlanta had a great regular season but has struggled to beat some teams they should of smashed!!! The weakest 1 seed I can remember in the East in a long time!!!!

TheCLEVE
TheCLEVE

@LMO ...who said Bron was gonna beat (anyone) all by himself?  He certainly didn't beat the Bulls all by himself.  And the T-E-A-M ratings I quoted from NBA.com (http://stats.nba.com/?ls=iref:nba:gnav#!?PlayerOrTeam=Team&StatType=Advanced) say more for the Cavs than just Bron, too.  Further, I'd put a healthy Kyrie up against the Heat's Wade (OK so we don't have a Bosh hanging around anywhere) at least in terms of potential overall contribution to a winning playoff effort.  Bottom line, it's been more than just LeBron in the playoffs, and the same will be true in the Eastern Conference Finals...

LMO
LMO

LBJ isn't playing beside Dwade and Chris Bosh.. it's ok to be a homer, but no ONE player is going to beat a team with homecourt advantage that goes 10 deep in a system that ALMOST beat him TWICE (if not for miracle shot by Ray Allen) in the finals WITH better players around him.  Hawks in 6 thanks to Refs

TheCLEVE
TheCLEVE

Yup, I'm a Cleveland homer.  LBJ went to my school and everything...so I'm allowed.


Much respect for the Hawks.  They won 60 for a reason.  Well, lots of reasons.  But I remember what it was like to win 60+ reg season games during LeBron 1.0 - and it got us nowhere in the end. 


Consider this:  Cavs lead all playoff teams in three of four major categories: Offensive Rating, Net Rating, and T.I.E. (Team Impact Estimate).  And they were only 0.7 points off the lead in the Defensive Rating category (they are sitting at 4th overall).


It's going to be a lot better series than most "experts" think, but Cavs in six.

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

@TheCLEVE Look man Washington was a better defensive team than Cleveland. You're on crack if you don't think our system will give LeBron fits again. He ALWAYS has trouble against this system, the Pop/Spurs system. But as I've said before, Lebron will get his. We just have to defend the other four guys, and we'll be ok. Hawks in 7.

LMO
LMO

@TheCLEVE LBJ isn't playing beside Dwade and Chris Bosh.. it's ok to be a homer, but no ONE player is going to beat a team with homecourt advantage that goes 10 deep in a system that ALMOST beat him TWICE (if not for miracle shot by Ray Allen) in the finals WITH better players around him.  Hawks in 6 thanks to Refs

Chris Bleile
Chris Bleile

@LMO @TheCLEVE Are the fans of Atlanta that gullable that they believe they have a team that is ten deep. I see their bench being like an averge NBA team. After watching the Washington series and the first two gmes of this series, it might not be an average bench, the loss of Sefo makes the bench weak!!!

Benjamin Urbanek
Benjamin Urbanek

On crack????? Hahah your obviously on the crack pipe bro. Lebron hasn't had one fit against this 10 deep Hawks team.

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

Very limited articles about the Hawks on the 4 letter. Let them sleep on us.

davesbrain
davesbrain

Hawks in 5.  I can't see Cleveland playing the kind of defense that Washington played.  I also think the pressure of passing the first two rounds will lift.


However, a complication is that I am not optimistic about the three arbiters actually calling any fouls on Cleveland's james, though, and not failing to send him to the line double digit times a game.

Chris Bleile
Chris Bleile

@davesbrain The best team wins and in this case its the cavs. Atlanta has a nice team but there not made for playoff basketball

cspecial
cspecial

PLEASE KYLE KORVER, DON"T STOP YOURSELF.DON"T GET IN A HURRY AND RUSH YOUR SHOT.CATCH IT, GO UP TO YOUR HIGHEST POINT AND SHOOT THE BALL.YOU DON"T HAVE TO GET IN A HURRY.WORK ON YOUR FORM.GET IT BACK.DON"T BE SCARED.IF SOMEONE BLOCK YOUR SHOT ITS NOT GOING TO KILL YOU.WHY ARE YOU RUSHING? YOU DON"T HAVE TO.IF YOU SHOOT LIKE YOU DID IN THE REGULAR SEASON NO ONE CAN BEAT THE HAWKS.

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

@Nshields @cspecial Yeah, not sure who Cavs will put on Kyle, but doubt they'll be as good defensively as Washington was. They locked Kyle down.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

Hey, the Atlanta HAWKS have taken fans to where no other HAWKS team has been before including 1970 when they were Divisional champs.  I'm going with the HAWKS in five, reason being, they can.  Cleveland will not present the defensive presence that the Wizards were so good at.  The Cavaliers are a two dimensional team (1) LBJ and (2) Kyrie Irving.

K. Love is a walking double/double who can stretch the floor but he is not playing.  Those who think Iman Shumbert and J.R. will be a constant threat are wrong, everyone who has watched both players are aware they can be very good, middle of the road and or very bad, consistency is not their forte'.  The Cavaliers and Bulls beat the snot out of each other physically.

The best reality of all is that the HAWKS were not suppose to be in this position and they are.  I am so proud of this team that I feel they overachieved which could be fact and if they lose the series I will not be crying but thinking the HAWKS for one helluva ride.  The bandwagon has always been fickle, people hop on and off but fans will ride it out win or lose with appreciation.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris Bleile
Chris Bleile

@WaltBBall I bet you feel stupid right now. Lets see

1- Cleveland will not present the defensive that the wizards did (Dumb comment)

2- The Cavs are a two dimensional team Lebron and Kyrie (Dumber Comment)

3- Smth and Shumpert not consistent , very good (Dumbest Comment)!!!


This is what happens when people who dont know basketball try to comment on it. They make themselves and their fan base look stupid!!

LMO
LMO

ROTFLMBO @ Cleveland and LBJ fans... same "FANS" that were burning their LBJ jerseys and cursing him out.. it's 2015 and these are not your daddy's Hawks, and LBJ 2015 is not LBJ of 2010.  You will have Ref's on your side as the NBA wants to see LBJ vs. GS but unfortunately the Hawks aren't cooperating!  #KeepDoubtin

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

@LMO I really don't understand why they want Lebron against GS. Because those guys would sweep him right out of the building.

Chris Bleile
Chris Bleile

@LMO Cavs dont need refs!!! LBJ of 2015 just as good as LBJ of 2010 becuz he understands now that he can effect the gameby just not scoring!!! #CLEallIN

Trackbacks

  1. […] the five who pick the Hawks, four see them taking the series in seven games. (So do I.) One — Michael Wallace — has them winning in six. Of the nine who predict a Cleveland […]

  2. […] Further still: A few more reasons why the Hawks will beat the Cavs. […]