Cavs-Hawks Series Analysis: First Take

LeBron James attacks the rim as Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague defend.

The semifinals are here!!

The Golden State Warriors are taking on the Houston Rockets for King of the West.

In the East the Atlanta Hawks are contending with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the clear favorites in the series, but don’t count the Hawks out just so soon.

The general opinion is the Cavaliers will prevail according to their two huge stars, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.

But, the San Antonio Spurs, who have 5 national championships in recent years, and are currently the defending champions, have proved that teamwork can overcome any amount of talent, which is just what the Hawks have.

The Atlanta Hawks don’t have any superstars, but that’s not what they need. They have team players that hold each other accountable which will work better for them when going up against the Cavailers.

The Hawks will be relying on their veterans who have playoff experience. Kyle Korver, the starting shooting guard for the Atlanta Hawks, already has around 40 playoff games under his belt. He also has the best three-point percentage in the league. Al Horford also has playoff experience and has filled the role of a natural team leader on and off the floor. Paul Millsap has experience in the East conference and the West conference. He has jettisoned the team up to the position they are at now. While the supposedly more mature Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster has a total of 803 playoff games to the Atlanta Hawks’ 426, the starting lineup is really where the surprise is.

The general opinion is: Can this young Hawks team hold off the veteran, all-star filled, Cavaliers team? The starting lineup for the Hawks has the experience of 277 playoff games, and the Cavaliers starters only have 228. So where is all this opinion of the inexperienced Hawks coming from? I believe it is simply because most of the Cavs starters are recognized as stars and have proved themselves in specific, defining moments in the past, while the majority of this Hawks team have only recently gotten recognition for their feats such as their 60-22 record in the 2014-2015 season.

The Hawks’ keys to victory will all depend on their most valued players. Kyle Korver’s three-point field goal percentage is currently the leader in the entire NBA. The distributors like Jeff Teague need to make it a very specific point to get the ball to Korver. Korver’s ability to create will be the difference between a W or an L in the series against the Cavs.

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