Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game 2 Preview and Pick

Atlanta Hawks +12 at Cleveland Cavaliers -12 O/U 177 8 PM ET May 7, 2009 on ESPN

By Jason Green at

The Cavaliers lead this best of 7 series 1-0.

Do the Hawks have any chance in this series? They were schooled in game 1 and the new MVP LeBron James looks like he is on a mission to get his first ring. The Cavaliers dominated the Hawks in game 1 winning by 27 points, as the Hawks only scored a grand to total of 28 points in the 2nd half including only 11 in the 4th quarter. For the Hawks to have any chance in this game they have to hold onto the rock, as they committed 17 turnovers in game 1 while the Cavs only committed 7.

They also have to attack the rim and not settle for jump shots, as in game 1 starters Mike Bibby, Al Horford, and Joe Johnson played a total of 100 minutes and took a grand total of 0 free throws. For the game the Hawks only took 18 free throws and made 9 for a weak FT% of 50%. James, Delonte West, and Mo Williams were solid in game 1 combining for 68 points on a combined 24/43 shooting. It is only game 2, but the Hawks are in trouble and if they get crushed again this series may see a sweep.


Hoops bookies have the Cavaliers as 12-point favorites in this game with a total around 177. The Cavaliers are posted at -1000 as heavy road favorites and the Hawks are posted at +800 as road dogs.

The Cavs cruised to victory in game one on Tuesday night 99-72 The high scorer for the Cavs in that game was LeBron, shocker, going for 34 points on 12/21 shooting including grabbing 10 boards. For the game the Cavs shot 37/79 for a FG% of 46.8%. The high scorer for the Hawks in game 1 was Josh Smith going for 22 points on 8/15 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 28/64 for a FG% of 43.8%.

This season the Cavs ranked 13th in scoring (100.3 ppg) and the Hawks ranked 19th (98.1 ppg). On D the Cavs were the best team in the league in terms of points allowed at 91.3 ppg and the Hawks allowed an average of 98 ppg. The Cavs were a much better team on the boards this season, as they had a rebounding differential of +3.3 rpg and the Hawks were only at -1.9 rpg.

This season the Cavs were 48-33-1 ATS and the Hawks were 44-37-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Cavs were 37-44-1 and the Hawks were 38-43-1.

On the injury front Al Horford is day to day for the Hawks while the Cavs are not reporting any significant injuries.

In the 2nd half of game 1 the Hawks only shot 30% from the floor and they will have to find a way to score on the Cavs to have any chance in this game.

The Hawks only trailed the Cavs by 5 after the first half and Atlanta was shooting 56% from the floor. In the 2nd half the Cavs got physical and then cruised to a victory. The Hawks need to attack the rim and put some bodies on the Cavs tonight.

The Hawks also have to keep the Cavs of the boards, especially the offensive glass since the Cavs had 15 offensive boards in game 1.

Since the Hawks do not have much inside presence Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Mike Bibby have to hit the outside J and get to the charity stripe. If they do not do that tonight they will be heading back to Atlanta down 0-2.

Joe Johnson has to step up and play better, as in game 1 he only had 11 points and had 5 turnovers.

Even though the Cavs schooled the Hawks in game 1 the C tandem of Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas only combined for 11 points on 4/17 shooting.

There is really no pressure on the Hawks, as nobody is giving them a chance in this series. They may as well leave it all on the court tonight, but they need to keep it close, at least, so they have a little confidence when they go back to Atlanta.

Jason’s Pick: So the Hawks got blown out in game 1. It happens. No way can we justify a 12 point spread though in game 2! Take those points!