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Cavaliers Smell Blood In The Water Heading In To Game 2 Versus Hawks

Posted by on 5/21/2015 11:27:19 PM

The Atlanta Hawks didn’t just lose to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. They also lost the player that was best suited to cover the King in the series. The Hawks lost Game 1 97-89 but more importantly they lost DeMarre Carroll to a knee injury that in the very best case scenario would probably still keep him out for the remainder of the series. Now Atlanta will attempt to bounce back in Game 2 at home on Friday night and avoid an 0-2 hole at home against an opponent that has to smell blood in the water right now.

Eastern Conference Finals – Game 2

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Atlanta Hawks

Friday May 22, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET

Cavaliers Lead Best-of-7 Series 1-0

What It Will Take For Cavaliers To Win

Cleveland already had the lead heading in to the fourth quarter of Game 1 when they opened the final frame with the first 11 points including three 3-point shots from JR Smith. Smith finished the game with eight 3-point shots and 28 points overall while LeBron put up a game-high 31 points to take the series opener. Both players will have to capitalize on the opportunity in front of them heading in to Game 2 when they can put a stranglehold on the series and if they play the way they did in Game 1 they will be tough to beat. It was also promising that Tristan Thompson finished with 14 points while Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert pitched in with 10 points each and if Cleveland can record a 49-37 edge in rebounding the way they did in Game 1 they will be hard to beat.

What It Will Take For Hawks To Win

It won’t get any easier for Atlanta without their breakthrough player of the postseason available in Carroll especially down low where Thompson, Mozgov and LeBron really dominated them on the boards. Those three players had more rebounds individually than any player on the Hawks roster and the fact that they were so busy on the glass clearly wore them down and kept them from playing to their potential at the offensive end of the floor. Jeff Teague scored a team-high 27 points but he can’t do it all on his own. It’s about time that Kyle Korver woke up after struggling through each of the first two rounds and in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals when he finished with nine points. There are two many players on Atlanta’s roster that aren’t playing to their potential and it wouldn’t hurt if the bench stepped up to help ease the load the way that Smith did for Cleveland in Game 1. Smith’s 28 points were more than the 19 points that Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Mike Muscala and Pero Antic combined for off the bench in the series opener and those numbers just won’t be good enough for the Hawks to bounce back to win Game 2 of the series.

Outlook & Pick

Atlanta was consistent enough throughout the regular season to lock up the top seed in the Eastern Conference but they haven’t looked nearly as dominant in the playoffs and now their best performer from this postseason is injured. That will make an already uphill climb that much more difficult and while their desperation and urgency should play a role in Game 2 in front of the home fans it still might not be enough if LeBron and the Cavaliers attack from the outset the way they did in Game 1. Cleveland was 0-14 in Game 1’s in the playoffs before winning on Wednesday and the confidence and momentum they take from that victory should help feed that killer instinct heading in to Friday’s Game 2 where they could take a commanding series lead on the road.

Pick: Cleveland


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