Will NBA Odds Favorite Cavaliers Be Able To Ride Hawks Out Of Semifinals?

Charles Stark

Monday, May 2, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

Monday, May. 2, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

The semi-finals of the Eastern Conference have two very talented teams matched up. NBA Odds have the Cavs as a strong home favorite for game one. Can Atlanta shock LeBron and company?

NBA Odds have Atlanta as a +7½ underdog like at Pinnacle sports -110. For one of my NBA picks I am going to back the Hawks to hang in with Cleveland and take this game to the wire. They are one of the best defensive teams in the league and have an outside chance to pull the upset.


 

Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks rank first in the NBA in opponent overall and two point shooting percentage and handled a depleted Boston team 4-2 in their first series of the playoffs. Versus Cleveland this season they have had some success but in the playoffs the slate can be wiped clean, still coach Mike Budenholzer should be able to have a solid game plan. What I like about this team is they are really efficient offensively while putting a premium on defense.

On top of their stellar defensive shooting percentages Atlanta ranks second and third in the NBA in opponent shooting efficiency and effective field goal percentage respectively. One issue that could be bothersome is the pace they allow with opponents getting up 86.3 attempts per game which ranks them 26th in the league this season. However they were at times able to control this aspect against the league’s leading tempo team in the Celtics holding them to under their season attempts average in four of the six games in their series.

Offensively, the Hawks take good shots and have high percentages across the board highlighted ranking sixth and seventh in the NBA in effective field goal percentage and shooting efficiency respectively. After getting swept last year by the Cavs expect Budenholzer to have them ready for this series.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs average 104.3 points per game, rank third and fourth in effective field goal percentage and shooting efficiency, and swept Detroit 4-0 in round one. Although they got out of that series with the sweep I think Detroit had a pretty decent blue print on how to beat Cleveland but they simply didn’t have the horses to hang in with such a talented team. Offensively the Cavs are extremely tough to stop and move the ball well. They average 51.3% on their two point shots which ranks fourth in the league and shoot 36.5% from distance ranking them fifth.

However these are two areas where the Hawks thrive as mentioned so I don’t think anything will come easy for Cleveland, even at home. Defensively the Cavs are far from elite and are facing a very unselfish Hawks team that averages 25.4 assists per game which ranks second in the league. As well, the Cavs overall defensive shooting percentages leaves room for me to anticipate Atlanta will be able to score as Cleveland ranks just 13th, 14th, and 15th in opponent three, overall, and two points shooting percentages respectively.

This will be a very hard fought series that has all the makings of going at least six games. 

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Free NBA Pick: Hawks +7½ -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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