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Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - 5/20/15 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Cleveland Cavaliers (61-31) at Atlanta Hawks (68-26)
Date & Time Wednesday May 20, 2015, 8:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Atlanta Hawks -1 -- Over/Under: 197
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The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Atlanta Hawks for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks have had to really battle through the first two rounds of their playoff run so far, but while they didn't look too convincing in the first round, they certainly looked much better in the 4-2 series win over the Wizards in the second round. Paul Millsap averaged 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds for the series, while Al Horford led the team in scoring with averages of 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. Jeff Teague improved as the series went on and finished with averages of 16.3 points and 7.0 assists, but the Hawks are still waiting on some production from Kyle Korver who averaged just 7.0 points per game while shooting just 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. Overall, it's fair to say that the Hawks still aren't playing anywhere near the type of basketball we saw from them during the regular season, but they've shown up with their defense when it has counted so far.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had a slightly easier route to the Eastern Conference Finals with a sweep in the first round followed by a 4-2 series win over the Bulls in the second round. With Kevin Love injured and Kyrie Irving visibly hobbled, LeBron James took more of the scoring load and finished the second round with averages of 26.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 8.8 assists while Irving finished with averages of 17.5 points and just 2.7 assists. Iman Shumpert had an inconsistent series and finished with averages of 12.7 points and the same could be said for JR Smith who didn't put up a lot of shots but always seemed to come up when the Cavs needed him the most, finishing with averages of 12.8 points and 3.0 triples per game. 

In ATS trends, the Cavs are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against a team with a winning record and 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a win of more than 10 points, while the Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games and 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games following a win.

Head to head, the Cavs are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings overall and 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings in Atlanta.

I have the Cavs winning the series in six or seven games, but I actually think that with Irving still not yet 100 percent, the Hawks may be able to kick off the series with a narrow win at home.

Atlanta -1
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