I know, I know. Everyone is thinking the same thing: Atlanta has no chance against Cleveland. Well I'm here to tell you that you are wrong.
And I know what else you are thinking. There is no way that these two amateurs keep up the pace and preview every game. Well I'm here to tell you that you are absolutely right.
With that in mind, this blog is all about the good news and the bad news.
Atlanta has a chance against Cleveland. When you get down to it, they are very similar teams. Both run their offense the majority of the time through a wing player who is 6'8". Both have big men who are not the most skilled/utilized on offense, but can play some mean defense. Both have guards that do not create too much offense, but can knock down a shot. Mo Williams is basically a younger Bibby.
On defense, Atlanta has three wing defenders (Joe, Mo, and Marv) to throw at LeBron. If Marvin is healthy, he and Mo will get the majority of the looks. You know, however, that Cleveland will try to employ the same strategy as the Heat and use the Hawks "switch on everything" philosophy to get LeBron more favorable match-ups. The only frontcourt player that can score for the Cavs is Big Z, and all he has is the 15 foot shot, so Josh and Al should be able to help out against LeBron. On the wings, Atlanta has to close out quickly on the 3 ball since the Cavs have tons of shooters with Williams, West, Gibson, Pavlovic, and Szczerbiak. If Atlanta can keep LeBron out of the paint like they did with Wade and close out on the Cleveland shooters, the Hawks can keep the score tight.
On offense there are mismatches to be had. Varejao matches up well with Horford and Zaza, but the Cavs do not have a player, outside of LeBron, who can match up with Josh. And the Cavs won't waste LeBron on Josh. So if he is focused and attacking the rim, Josh can give the Cavs a headache. Additionally, if Marvin is healthy, LeBron will have to choose between guarding him and Joe. This will leave the other guarded by West. While West is a feisty defender, he is all of 6'3", so either Joe or Marvin will have a huge height mismatch they should be able to exploit. So we're not getting shut out...
This is your only scheduled preview. And even worse, the Hawks are probably going to lose this series. There is no way the Hawks take two games in Cleveland as they will be lucky to steal one. Additionally it is going to very difficult to win all three at home with the way LeBron can put the Cavs on his back.
Best-case scenario: The Hawks steal Game One from a rusty Cavs team, win one of the two home games, win Game 6, and force the Cavs to beat us in Game 7. Or they could go the same route as the team that no one believed in last year and get destroyed on the road and win all the game at home. Either way, the Hawks aren't stealing two games in Cleveland, and there is no way they are winning Game 7 on the road.
Cavs in 7.