The Atlanta Hawks have been the best team in the Eastern Conference all season long. Their playoff run has not been dominant but they have done enough to claim they place in the Conference Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers are favored to win the series by a 2-1 margin despite being the Number 2 seed. In a season filled with injuries, trades, and inconsistencies they have weathered the storm and appear poised to continue Lebron James streak of making the NBA Finals.
Point Guard- Kyrie Irving vs. Jeff Teague
Irving had a fantastic regular season and got more and more comfortable playing with Lebron as the season wen on. He is battling several inures but is expected to start game one. Teague has emerged as a top 15 point guard in the league. He needs to stay on the out of foul trouble as well as not allow Irving to get comfortable offensively
Advantage- Atlanta (Health reasons)
Shooting Guard- Iman Shumpert vs. Kyle Korver
Shumpert has thrived since arriving in a trade during the season. He is the teams best perimeter defender and will likely spend time defending both Korver and Teague. Korver was a first time all star and he has expanded his game to be more than just a three-point shooter. He will need to have a strong series in order for Atlanta to have a legit chance. If he is knocking down outside shots then it open up the whole floor for the Hawks.
Advantage – Atlanta
Small Forward- Lebron James vs. Demarre Carroll
James has been under the radar during the post season but has shown he can still shine when needed as evidenced by his shot at the buzzer during the conference Semi-Finals. He is the best player in the sport by a large margin and reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Carroll is a tremendous energy player who is one of the few people who can in many ways match Lebron as far as size and speed. His ability to contribute on offense is important.
Advantage- Cmon Man
Power Forward- Tristan Thompson vs. Paul Milsap
Thompson is the best rebounder in the series, especially on the offensive end. They are a much different team with him than with Kevin Love because he is not the 3-point shooter that Love is and therefore does not space the floor. He makes up for it with a relentless pursuit on the boards. Milsap has ironically expanded his range to the 3-point line and is the teams go to player on offense.
Center- Timofey Mozgov vs. Al Horford
Mozgov has played great since the team gave up two first round picks to acquire him. He is a traditional low post center and if he gets touches he will produce offensively. Horford is a veteran who is the consummate professional and defensive backbone. As the longest tenured Hawk he is the one most invested in this series
The hawks have a young guard in Dennis Shroeder who will take the place of as well as play with Teague. Other than him the Hawks have virtually nobody worth mentioning off their bench. Cleveland however is loaded with experienced players who can come in and contribute at any time in James Jones, Kendrick Perkins, J.R Smith, Mike Miller, Brendan Haywood, and Shawn Marion as well as impressive rookie Mathew Dellavedoa
If you're new to sports betting, visit our Betting Lines Explained article for more information.