Cleveland Versus Atlanta PreviewEastern Conference Second Round
#1 Cleveland (66-16) vs. #4 Atlanta (47-35)
Season series: Cleveland, 3-1
Atlanta can win if…the Hawks play extremely well defensively and convert those stops into transition scoring opportunities.
Cleveland will win because…the Cavaliers' suffocating half court defense will completely stymie the Hawks; look for Atlanta to score fewer than 85 points in several games in this series. Cleveland defends, rebounds and executes a half court offense much better than Atlanta, plus the Cavs have LeBron James, who is easily the best player on either team.
Other things to consider: The Hawks presented a lot of problems for the Celtics in the first round last year but the Cavs match up much better with Atlanta than Boston did; James, Delonte West, Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao not only can keep up with Atlanta's players in the open court but they can also be very effective in a half court set. The Hawks may go on a few 8-0 or 10-0 scoring bursts in this series as a result of steals and blocked shots leading to transition dunks but the Hawks are more likely to go five or six minute stretches without making a field goal as Cleveland's defense shuts down Atlanta's "dribble, dribble, dribble" half court offense.
You can find a more in depth take on this series in my newest article for CavsNews.com:
Cavs’ Defense and Depth Will be Too Much for Hawks
posted by David Friedman @ 11:40 PM