The Hawks were the surprise team of the Eastern Conference with 60 wins, which was good enough for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They dominated the Nets in the regular season with a 4-0 sweep. The Nets had an injury plagued and disappointing season.
POINT GUARD – Jeff Teague vs. Deron Williams
Williams, a one time MVP candidate, is a shell of his former self. Ankle injuries among other issues have led to his demise. It can be argued that the team would be better off with backup point guard Jarret Jack as the starter. Teague has slowly developed into one of the top point guards in the league. His statistics do not accurately reflect his importance to the Hawks success.
SHOOTING GUARD - Kyle Korver vs. Markel Brown
Korver was a first time ALL-STAR this season and has shown more of an all around game to go along with his elite three point shooting. He is the type of role player that all championship teams have. Brown is the suspected starter but don’t be surprised if you see a lot of Jack at tis position as well.
SMALL FORWARD- Joe Johnson vs. Damarre Carroll
When the Nets acquired Johnson from the Hawks a few years ago its was viewed by many as a desperate move by Nets ownership to put a solid team on the floor during their first season in Brooklyn. Johnsons huge contract proved to be a good deal for the Nets in his first two seasons as the team was a playoff contender. However now the team has taken a step back and Johnson is a step slower. He is capable of hitting big shots down the stretch but is no longer capable of creating his own. Carroll is a versatile defender who can create problems for opposing offenses.
ADVANTAGE - Even
POWER FORWARD- Mason Plumlee vs. Paul Milsap
Coming off of his Olympic Team experience their were high hopes for Plumlee who is nothing more than a solid role player. Look for mid season acquisition Thaddeus Young to receive a lot of minutes in his place. Milsap is in the last year of his contract and looks to be in line for a big payday. He is a force on the inside and has developed his range to the three-point line.
CENTER- Brook Lopez vs. Al Horford
Lopez has come under a lot of criticism but most of it is due to injuries, however when healthy he has always been a proven scorer. He continued to score this season and earned the trust of Coach Lionell Hollins. He biggest weakness is rebounding and that is likely to hurt him against such a strong front line. Horofrd has been steady all season and is the enforcer in the back of the Hawks defense.
Neither team has much depth and the Hawks depth took a big hit with the loss of Thabo Sefolosha.