We’re live from Hawks-Cavaliers: Will it be a new story?

The Hawks are hoping to control LeBron James and the Cavaliers better than in their playoff series. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Hawks are hoping to control LeBron James and the Cavaliers better than in their playoff series. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If you’re wondering whether tonight’s game between the Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers will play out any differently than last year’s playoff series, you’re not alone. LeBron James isn’t sure what to make of the Hawks yet, either.

“We controlled the playoff series the whole way through,” James said moments ago in the Cavaliers’  locker room. “They’re a talented a talented team, but we controlled them and did what we wanted to do.”

When asked if the Hawks seem like a significantly different team now, James said, “I’ll tell you tonight after we play them. … I’ve watched tape. But you can’t just watch tape . When you play them, that’s when you can really tell about a team.”

The Hawks view tonight’s game as a measuring stick. They’re 21-8 but for the first time face the team that bounced them from the playoffs last season in four straight games. The Hawks are more versatile, deeper and better defensively than they were a year ago. They’re probably also a little tougher mentally. But James is right: You never really know about a team until games like this.

Josh Smith echoed those sentiments a little while ago, saying, “Any time we play against a marquee team in the East, let alone the NBA, we’ve got to gauge ourselves. We’ll definitely face adversity throughout the game. So we’ll just see how we’ll deal with that, too.”

It should be interesting. These are the fun games to watch and I’m here to chat about it, so let me know what you think.

296 comments Add your comment

Pete

December 29th, 2009
6:42 pm

These are the games that Lebron waits for. two losses for Atlanta

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
6:51 pm

Pete — Think this game means that much to LeBron?

Pete

December 29th, 2009
6:53 pm

sure does! Watch his facial expressions during the game

Dreman1731

December 29th, 2009
6:56 pm

I believe it does. If they’re up by 20 and he’s dancing around the baseline, he probably won’t care. I hate that we have to play them tomorrow again up there.

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:00 pm

Hawks can possibly pull off an 2 game upset if they do one thing BENCH MARVIN WILLIAMS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:00 pm

what a pro town this is 4 post . My goodness

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:01 pm

Jamaal must come up big and joe has got to want to be the man

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:03 pm

and ofcourse Josh must run the floor and take his game inside

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:03 pm

Helloooooo lol

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:05 pm

And Josh Smith has to play LBJ like he does everyone else and stop being scared to possibly get dunked on. No big deal it’ll just be on sports center top plays.

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:06 pm

lol and thats it

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:07 pm

Desmond Roberts — Josh Smith is the X factor in almost every game because he can do things most NBA players can’t at both ends of the court . . . except LeBron.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:08 pm

Jerry — Hello back to ya.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:08 pm

Jerry — About Joe: This is one of this big game moments we all talk about.

Chipmunk

December 29th, 2009
7:08 pm

Go Cavaliers…sweep the Hawks

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:09 pm

Jerry — Patience, dude. It just went up.

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:10 pm

wonder why the game got block out on nba tv

Time

December 29th, 2009
7:11 pm

I still think a healthy Hawks team atleast pushes the Cavs last year. They’re healthy and gotten better. Should be a great game.

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:12 pm

Shaq looks like he just realized he had too big of a pregame meal

atmdawg

December 29th, 2009
7:12 pm

I worry that the hawks have put too much on this one game. That can really work against us if things do not go well tonight.

Time

December 29th, 2009
7:12 pm

The game got blocked on NBA TV because it’s on SportsSouth.

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:13 pm

Im vivid hawks watcher and supporter but this is the only team Josh Smith seems to shut it down against everytime he has to matchup with LBJ when he plays a superstar capable of doing the samething he does but better so I hope he can at least keep him under 40 points

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:13 pm

thanks@ time

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:14 pm

oops here we go

Time

December 29th, 2009
7:15 pm

Joe hits his first 3. A good sign.

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:16 pm

joes being joe

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:16 pm

noooo foul trouble

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:17 pm

LET ME SEE IT IN THE 4TH QUARTER WHE IT COUNTS.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:18 pm

JJM — Don’t know. But it’s on locally.

Time — Agreed.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:18 pm

Looks like Shaq can still make a move or two.

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:18 pm

here the refs go

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:18 pm

how long does shaq get away with that

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:19 pm

Joe looks good early.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:20 pm

When Josh runs the court like that, hawks are a different team,

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:21 pm

Roster says Shaq outweighs Horford by 80 pounds. Looks like 180.

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:21 pm

If the every game was a 1 quater game the hawks would have won a championship already.

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:22 pm

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:23 pm

wonder why joe not rockin the space jams

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:23 pm

. . And the LBJ fans go crazy . .

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:24 pm

Hey– he got called for a foul! Isn’t that against the rules?

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:24 pm

looking like our night early

J.J.M.

December 29th, 2009
7:25 pm

Hey Jeff does every team play a home and home game?

GWH Rich

December 29th, 2009
7:25 pm

Emailed you back, Jeff. Thanks.

Hey, everybody, during a timeout or something, check this out and come out and celebrate a piece of Atlanta history with the family.

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:26 pm

A Schultz Marvin scored he might reach single digit scoring for the season.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:26 pm

Joe 4-for-4 w/11 points.

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:27 pm

Hey shaq stole my move. You get down low ,throw your gut into somebody and go up . Works everytime

Desmond Roberts

December 29th, 2009
7:28 pm

Change that another bad shoot for marvin.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:28 pm

JJM — you do it when schedule allows. I like it. Wouldn’t want to see a lot of them but it’s fun once in a while.

Jeff Schultz

December 29th, 2009
7:29 pm

Jerry — Guess he just has better connections than you.

Jerry

December 29th, 2009
7:31 pm

lol yea and I’m 5-10