NBA Playoffs: How will Hawks match up against Cavaliers in conference semifinals?

After the Atlanta Hawks’ thrilling seven-game series win over the Miami Heat Sunday, fans are understandably excited about the upcoming Eastern Conference semifinals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, starting tomorrow.

But here are some things to consider as the high-flying Hawks soar into Cleveland for Game 1:

– The Cavs sport the NBA’s best regular-season record at 66-16
– Cleveland won its NBA Eastern Conference First Round playoff series, sweeping Detroit 4-0
– The Cavs as a team average 100.3 PPG
– In 2009, LeBron James averaged 28.4 PPG
– In the playoffs, James averaged 32 PPG

You tell us: What are the Hawks’ chances against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals? Can Atlanta take Cleveland to seven games or will the Cavs pull off the sweep again?

HAWKS-CAVALIERS EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIS PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 1 – Atlanta at Cleveland, Tuesday, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Atlanta at Cleveland, Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 3 – Cleveland at Atlanta, Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC
Game 4 – Cleveland at Atlanta, Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN
*Game 5 – Atlanta at Cleveland, Wed., May 13, Time TBA
*Game 6 – Cleveland at Atlanta, Fri., May 15, Time TBA
*Game 7 – Atlanta at Cleveland, Mon., May 18, Time TBA
* – If necessary

134 comments Add your comment

Johnny Red Balls

May 4th, 2009
9:41 am

lkuhg

May 4th, 2009
9:43 am

Virgil

May 4th, 2009
9:44 am

Hawks won’t get swept, but will get blown out playing in Cleveland unfortunately.

Westurd

May 4th, 2009
9:46 am

Who will D up against Lebron?

J Smoov fan club

May 4th, 2009
9:46 am

Just hope Josh keeps trying that dunk.

Name (required)

May 4th, 2009
9:53 am

There will be blood.

ontheflats

May 4th, 2009
9:57 am

When this team decides to play hard agressive defense, they are a good basketball team. When they don’t, they lose by 20. I hope they play defense in this series but history tells me they won’t in game 1.

Mac

May 4th, 2009
9:59 am

Hawks will win. What does smoove mean? What language is that?

CaliHawks

May 4th, 2009
10:16 am

Hmm there already sayin cavs in 4 i dont think so..The Hawks can win if they can play like they did in the 4 games that they won in the 1st round .. They did beat the cavs when they were on a 10 game winning streak in the middle of the season so they kno how to beat the king james. Starts wit great team D which we kno they can do and they need good ball movment when they go down and make set plays.. They always get in trouble when they start dribbling tha ball alot wit no passes. And Josh Smith has 2 plays his game and doesnt get mad at the refs and quits takin them dam 3’s just drive 2 tha hole J Smooth. However the task at hand is great & the cavs are the best team in the East & they just announced that Lebron James in the MVP of the season . But tha celtics where tha best last year and they took them to 7 games wit no playoff experience excpet bibby. why cant these hawks win now wit playsoffs wins under there belt and 1st 7 games series win in forever.. Beat these cavs..HAWKS IN 7!!!!

Mike is back

May 4th, 2009
10:16 am

This is part of my post from the previous blog.

We can win all our games at home. We gotta steal one on the road…if we do that…then definitely…we have a chance to WIN THE SERIES. If I was Woody…I would ride ZAZA BOW BOA…THE REST OF WAY…GO ROCKY!!!!!!

Woody’s needs to keep rotating Zaza and Solo in at the pivot…The Cavs are so BIG AND LONG…Woody should consider bringing Morris in the Mix for this series…we CAN USE his SIZE AND LENGTH in the posts. This is a different match-up…the CAVS pound us on boards with size and length…its those extra possession that kill us.

I would mix it up by moving Al to the four some quarters, and moving Josh to the three. I would use the JJ rule on LBJ the whole series…KEEP THE BALL OUT OF HANDS!!!!! MWilliams and JWest are the wild card…they can both penetrate and shoot three.

GO HAWKS…LETS SHOCK THE WORLD AND STEAL GAME ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOL

May 4th, 2009
10:20 am

LOL @ There will be blood.

@ Mac – “Smoove” means smooth and it is English. “Smoove” is a colloquailism. No charge for that. :)

Hawks 101

May 4th, 2009
10:23 am

Mo Evans and Flip Murray off the bench is the key in the series. Bold prediction but the Hawks in six.

Darrin "The Vent King"

May 4th, 2009
10:23 am

Well, just remember everyone predicted that the Boston Celtics would sweep the Hawks last season and the Hawks gave them all they wanted. If they could do that then, maybe just maybe they can give the Cavs that kind of trouble too. At least I hope so, LeBron ain’t no joke though. GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grayhawk

May 4th, 2009
10:25 am

I think our boys are going to get schooled four straight this week. I hope they learn something.
If we stay focused and play our game we can compete with anybody. Did I just say stay focused? What was I thinking?.

Are Al and Marv getting any healthier? How many wide bodies can we throw at LeBron?

I am just happy we beat that punk Wade. Watching him whine for 7 games, was a unbearable. with all the TV people having a lovefest over him. His act got real boring. It shows you how far one guy can carry a team.

Hawks need to win at least two to start getting respect from the national media.

Eric

May 4th, 2009
10:25 am

Keep It Real from Cleveland

May 4th, 2009
10:28 am

Let’s keep it real! The hawks have not chance at winning this series!

The Hawks have made a good jump into the 2nd round now you are paying against the big boys! Not an inexperience Heat team!

No one on the Hawks can contain the King!

Keep It Real from Cleveland

May 4th, 2009
10:31 am

Beside the Hawks need all their players to even compete in this series!

I need the Hawks to push the Cavs we they can be better prepared for the Eastern Conference finals!

J-smoove will continue to Jack long jump shots and JJ shot has not returned yet! Hopefully Marvin can play so they can use a 8 to 9 man rotation because Cleveland is 9 deep off the bench!

Numberonehawksfan

May 4th, 2009
10:34 am

Swept? by those Cavaliers? Not really! Although the Hawks come out flat and uninspired in most games, the LeBrons aren’t that good that they will sweep the Hawks! Looks as though we will be taking the “us against the world approach again for these playoffs”! Good Shot Jon Barry, “we won’t win a game against Cleveland!” Coach Woodson asked this morning on a radio show interview, “what has Jon Barry done in the league?” I must agree…That’s fine, I would like for all of the nay-sayers and talking heads on all of the network shows, keep saying that the Hawks can’t…! Game on Cleveland! GO HAWKS!

Reid in EAV

May 4th, 2009
10:40 am

I’m hoping for an improbable seven-game duel to the finish, with the Hawks somehow finding a way to steal a road win and therefore the series.

That said, if our guys can hold serve at home at least twice, I’ll be ecstatic. My heart says “Hawks in 7.” My head says “Cleveland in 6.”

tarheels3

May 4th, 2009
10:40 am

It’s a 7 game series, and Coach Woodson will be able to make adjustments from game to game on how to defend Lebron. My suggestion is start out doulble teaming Lebron every time he touches the ball around the top of the key or the free throw line. Emphasize Dee – fense, defense and then play some dee – fense. Limit second chance points, so defend your back board. We have to be aware of where Anderson Varejao is all the time because he is a hustler and he does the extra stuff like Zaza does for the Hawks. Limit turnovers early and that will eliminate the fast break. The Hawks will have to finish each quarter strong. Players keep their heads in the game and finish each quarter very strong. Flip Murray will be key because I look for him to drive to the goal late in each quarter and keep the Hawks in striking distance. It does matter how we start the quarter but it is most important how we finish each and every quarter. I believe thats where superstars like Lebron really excel, finishing quarters. Lastly, I believe this is where J Smoove grows up and catapult to super star status. He will dominate at his position and keep the Hawks close enough to steal 2 games in Cleveland. Hawks in 6 games.

LIFE LONG HAWKS FAN

May 4th, 2009
10:41 am

HAWKS WILL DOMINATE AND WIN THE SERIES NO MATTER HOW MANY GAMES IT TAKES!!!!!!!!!! GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Millwood

May 4th, 2009
10:44 am

Joey

May 4th, 2009
10:50 am

The Hawks also swept the Pistons in the regular season games, right?

KROD

May 4th, 2009
10:50 am

Game 1: Cleveland
Game 2: Cleveland
Game 3: Atlanta
Game 4: Cleveland
Game 5. Cleveland

Jesse

May 4th, 2009
10:57 am

The Refs and the NBA won’t let the Hawks win. They are all about TV ratings and that’s what Labron brings… $ and viewers. So the Hawks could have a shot, but watch how the Refs handle the games. If Woody makes a fuss during game one and gets fined then things might change. Hopefully the Hawks can steal one in Cleveland as they have some momentum and the Cavs have had too much time off.

mike

May 4th, 2009
11:04 am

I took the Hawks 7 games to get rid of a one man show in Miami.

Bron, Z, Mo, West, Varejo, Wallace, J Smith, Wally…………. too much for the Hawks.

Cavs in 5

Numberonehawksfan

May 4th, 2009
11:08 am

Sweeping the Pistons at this point was like taking the gun from the suicidal guy and shooting him…

hawkfan

May 4th, 2009
11:13 am

Hawks in 7? Cleveland lost 2 games at home all season (1 without lebron, Z, Mo, Ben, and Joe Smith, West only played 1 half and Andy played 1 quarter) and that was against Philly’s starters. The other loss the cavs blew a 10 point second half lead to the Lakers with a miserable 3rd quarter. How do you really feel that the cavs will lose any game at home let alone game 7? Home team pride is great, but there is no way we can beat cleveland in cleveland. Miami took us to 7 games partly because we let them but the cavs would beat miami in 4 by an average of 25, cavs fans were hoping miami could beat us bc they know they would roll them easily. WE will be lucky to win a game in this series jj has done nothing against cleveland all season, he must average 30 a night for the hawks to have hope. If that happens its a good building block for next season for these players to taste the second round and know what it will take to advance farther. Unfortunatly Cavs in 5.

CJDawg

May 4th, 2009
11:13 am

We just beat a one man team in Miami….correct? Other than Lebrom, who does Cleveland have that can carry them? (think a minute………..) that’s what I thought. Lebrom can average 27 per and as long as we contain the other 4 on the floor, we got it. NOBODY has as many athletes as we do…..nobody. Keep the ball away from LBJ as much as you can and see if the others can beat you. They can’t.

Stewart

May 4th, 2009
11:15 am

The Hawks have real consistency/motivation problems, but when they come to play they can keep pace with any team. They may not be able to beat the Cavs over the series but I think they’ll give Cleveland some fits.

Hawk

May 4th, 2009
11:17 am

I have to agree Jesse has a point, refs might not call the series right just because of Lebron and Cavs are favorite to possibly see a matchup with Celtics in conference finals. It’s all politics and money which is why its hard to watch, but without any of that said, I say 7 games with possibility of Hawks upsetting Cavs.

Dwayne

May 4th, 2009
11:30 am

no respect for the Hawks, even after they beat the heat, ESPN (stuart scott, that barry dude, who LIVES in ATL, Wilbon and the other chump) were boo-hooing. Thet wanted a queen jamie and DWY-ann Wade match up. HAHA….I love the Hawks, but I do not think they can steal one in cleveland, and even if they do, I believe the cavs get in back. Maybe the curse of the Dominuque will be lifted this year and the Hawks can win it in 7.

lkuhg

May 4th, 2009
11:34 am

hawks v. celtics – its in the cards

Realist

May 4th, 2009
11:37 am

All the talk in here is crazy – we have no chance in this series. Anytime we’re forced to play a halfcourt game we are absolutely terrible…not to mention there is noone on the roster that can guard either Lebron (Marvin is far from 100%) or big Z – Hawks will be lucky if the Hawks win 1 – I agree w/ Hawkfan Cavs in 5

randy

May 4th, 2009
11:43 am

never will happen, hawks get hammered!

Just too funny

May 4th, 2009
11:44 am

Cavs will record easiest sweep in NBA playoff history!

Mink

May 4th, 2009
11:58 am

We’ll play Lebron better than Detroit did, but Mo Williams and Ilgauskus are the ones who are going to overwhelm us. Williams should destroy Bibby and Horford is no match for “Z”. Our only chance at winning the series is if Joe averages 30+ per game and Josh Smith is at 25+…

Hoops

May 4th, 2009
12:01 pm

The Hawks will steal one in Cleveland during game 1 because of the Cavs long lay off. Then the war will be on! Hawks will hold home court after that and win game six in Atlanta to win the series. Believe it!

raheem

May 4th, 2009
12:01 pm

Go Hawks it are year.Shock the world

heartofdarkness

May 4th, 2009
12:01 pm

I don’t think the Hawks attack the rim well enough to exploit the Cav weakness at shot blocking, but if I’m wrong, and they mix defenses of Lebron well, they could scrape a couple wins together. If they return to Atlanta better than 0-2, it could be interesting. Decider could be which way the refs are investing this series

CS

May 4th, 2009
12:02 pm

Jon Barry is Rick Barry’s son but he has no skills so how can he say the Hawks won’t win a game. The only reason he is allowes to comment about anything is that he is Rick Barry’s son

raheem

May 4th, 2009
12:03 pm

Biggest upset sent Buster douglass upset Iron Milke Tyson , Hawk power

aaron

May 4th, 2009
12:07 pm

the hawks are my team but this won’t be a series at all, especially if joe johnson doesn’t pick it up. to be truthful, i’ll be absolutely floored if we win 1 game. i’m just going with my gut, cavs get the sweep.

another thing, if you thought the hawks were disrespected in the media against wade, just wait for lebron.

HAWKEYE

May 4th, 2009
12:08 pm

Joe will average 30+ and J. Smith will be at 25+

Lee

May 4th, 2009
12:10 pm

Hey Y’all:

We will “SHOCK THE WORLD!!!”. Mark my words. I do not care what the media darling Lebron get. The Hawks will stiffle the rest of his teamates withe their aggressive, stifling defense. We will “SHOCK THE WORLD!!!”. We are focused and ready to take on “POWDER PUFF” and his crew. The Hawks are not playing, man. This game will be more than interesting to every. With the exception of “POWDER PUFF”, we are the better team. Our balance is the key. Everybody can shot on the Hawks. this game will be a battle that will be won by our Hawks. We will “SHOCK THE WORLD. Mark my words!!!!!

LET’S GO HAWKS!!! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!!

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN!! TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

……………………..”ATLANTA HAWKS, BOOM-BYE-YEAH!!!”………….
…………………………”SHOCK THE WORLD!!!!!”……………….

sd

May 4th, 2009
12:11 pm

They are going to have to foul. Sad but true. The good thing they have is a deep bench. If we can trade fouls with them and get James in foul trouble, we have a shot.

We don’t match up well enough to do it cleanly.

Hawkster

May 4th, 2009
12:19 pm

While I’m impressed with the way the Hawks came back to finish off Miami, Cleveland shouldn’t be confused with the Heat. They are nearly unbeatable at home and tough on the road. While I would love to see the Hawks stretch the series to seven games, I can’t see them winning more than one. Cleveland in five.

CJ

May 4th, 2009
12:25 pm

As much as I love the Hawks…Cavs in 5. The Hawks managed to play the Cavs close at home but no one wins at the Q unless there’s a certain Kobe Bryant on your team…and we don’t have him.

The Cavs never take a play off because they have a legitimate alpha dog on their team that won’t allow his team to go into funks like the hawks often do.

This is par for the Hawks’ course though, every time we’ve had a decent team there was a dominant force in the way. During the Dominique years it was the Celtics/Pistons…in the Mookie and Steve Smith years it was the Bulls, now it’s the Cavs. Cavs in five then bring on Falcons minicamp.

Ol Skool

May 4th, 2009
12:29 pm

Make Lebron a jump shooter the entire series by staying in front of him and squeezing the lanes. Who is ever guarding Mo, Z, or West stay on them so that Lebron can’t kick it to get them involved. Let the Cavs stand around and watch Lebron the first half. The truth is the Cavs are not as good as their record. They managed to stay healthy and won All games agsinst inferior teams (to their credit) and beat the better teams when they had key players out. They were on the short end the stick when it came to the Lakers, Magic, and the Celtics. Big deal the swept the disfuntional 39-43 Pistons. The Hawks are athletic enough to give the Cavs plenty of headaches.

HawksFan

May 4th, 2009
12:30 pm

Hawks can beat Cavs, if the refs let the two team play and not call those tic tac fouls. As CaliHawks said, if the Hawks play good hard team defense on Lebron and when they double him close out on the Cavs perimeter shots quickly. Also, move the ball don’t dribble so much, and run the half court sets through JOSH in the post, when Josh is on his game he can pass with the best of them. GO Hawks ATL Legends