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Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - 5/22/15 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Cleveland Cavaliers (62-31) at Atlanta Hawks (68-27)
Date & Time Friday May 22, 2015, 8:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Atlanta Hawks -2 -- Over/Under: 197
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The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks collide in Game 2 at the Philips Arena tonight.

The Cavaliers were able to draw first blood in the series by taking down the Hawks in a 97-89 win in Game 1 thanks to big nights from three key players. LeBron James led the way with 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Tristan Thompson chipped in with a valuable double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, but the best performance of the night has to go to JR Smith who made a playoff-best eight threes to finish with 28 points off the bench. Kyrie Irving added just 10 points and six assists while still not at 100 percent health, but no one even noticed as Smith simply put on a show, knocking down three after three, all with defenders right in his face and contesting the shot. In terms of defense, the Cavs dominated the boards by 49-37 and did a great job of running the Hawks off the threes, limiting them to four of 23 from beyond the arc.

As for the Hawks, Jeff Teague played a super aggressive game and finished with a team-high 27 points while Al Horford chipped in with 16 points on 8 of 12 shooting. However, Paul Millsap shot just 3 of 11 for his 13 points while Dennis Schroder added just six points as the Hawks fizzled out for just 38 points in the second half after pouring in 51 in the first half. DeMarre Carroll has been averaging 16.2 points this postseason but finished with just six points and is considered a game-time decision for Game 2 after he injured his knee in Game 1.

In ATS trends, the Cavs are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Conference Finals games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games against a team with a winning record, while the Hawks are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games following a loss and 2-6 ATS in their last eight home games.

Head to head, the Cavs are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Atlanta and the home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings overall.

The Cavs pulled off the important road win thanks to a big night from James and a ridiculous shooting performance from Smith, but the Hawks simply can't afford to go down 2-0, so I'm definitely expecting them to come out as the more desperate team and win by single digits.

Atlanta -2
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