Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Playoff Eastern Conference Finals tips off tonight as the two best teams out of the east go head-to-head when LeBron James and the 2nd-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers travel to the Philips Arena to take on the top-seeded and 1-point home favorite Atlanta Hawks.
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) May 19, 2015
The Cavs expect all-star PG Kyrie Irving to start tonight. Irving tweaked his left knee in the Cavaliers’ Game 6 win over the Bulls, and was held out of the rest of the contest after the injury took place. Irving was held out of Saturday’s practice as a precaution, but he will be ready to go Wednesday night.
“I’m gonna go,” he told the Washington Post, adding that he feels “amazing” after gaining some rest.
At Cavs practice for an assignment. Kyrie Irving says "I'm gonna go" in Game 1 of the East finals Wednesday and feels "amazing" after rest.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 18, 2015
The Cavs were a disappointing 1-3 straight up (2-2 against the spread) versus the well-balanced Hawks this year during the regular season and perhaps that’s an indicator that the Hawks deserve to be the online NBA betting favorite for this tilt and the perhaps the series.
An In-Depth Look At The Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Atlanta Hawks Game 1 Spread & My ATS Pick
Matchup: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks
Date: May. 20 2015
Start Time: 8:30 PM ET
Location: Atlanta, GA
Stadium: Philips Arena
TV Info: TNT
Stream: TNT Overtime
Radio: Cleveland vs Atlanta
Spread: Hawks -1
Game Total: 197
Cleveland Cavaliers Projected Starting Lineup:
- LeBron James, SF 6′ 8", 26.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 7.8 APG
- Timofey Mozgov, C 7′ 1", 9.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 0.6 APG
- Tristan Thompson, C 6′ 9", 7.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.6 APG
- Kyrie Irving, PG 6′ 3", 20.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG
- Iman Shumpert, SG 6′ 5", 9.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.6 APG
Atlanta Hawks Projected Starting Lineup:
- Paul Millsap, PF 6′ 8", 15.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG
- DeMarre Carroll, SF 6′ 8", 17.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG
- Al Horford, C 6′ 10", 15.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG
- Jeff Teague, PG 6′ 2", 15.3 PPG, 7.4 APG
- Kyle Korver, SG 6′ 7", 11.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG
The Cavaliers are 8-2 SU in this postseason and 5-5 against the spread, posting a 1-3 ATS record in their last four games against the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland averages 99.6 points per game in the playoffs, last of the four teams remaining, shooting 43.2% from the field, and 34.2% from three-point. They are led by shooting forward Lebron James (26.5 PPG, 10.2 rebounds per game, 7.8 APG), and point guard Kyrie Irving (19.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG). Cleveland is allowing 92.6 points per game, the best of the remaining four, and grabbing 44.9 rebounds per game.
"These guys work their tails off every single day when you guys are not around," James said. "Yes, I’m a little bit surprised because of how we’ve handled the postseason so far. These are first-timers right here [Dellavedova and Thompson], as well as Kyrie and Kev before the injury. They want to be good, they want to be great, and every single day they prepare the right way."
Cavaliers coach Davis Blatt is in his first year in the NBA, meaning this is his first time a Conference finals.
The Hawks are 8-4 SU and 5-7 against the spread in the playoffs and are storming into this series with three wins in a row. Atlanta is led by shooting forward DeMarre Carroll (17.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG) in this postseason followed by power forward Paul Millsap (15.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG) and center Al Horford (15.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG). The team scores 99.8 points per game and shoot 43.4% from the field, along 34.3% from three points. They allow 95.7 points per game, third best of the teams’ remaining, while grabbing 45.2 rebounds per game.
"We’re about playing our style of basketball, whether it’s preseason, regular season, postseason," Millsap said. "We’re going to continue to play our style. We know who we are. We’re not going to let everybody else tell us what we’re not."
Mike Budenholzer is making his first Conference finals appearance as head-coach, but he has plenty of experience as an assistant on the Spurs squad from 1996 to 2013.
The Cavaliers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Wednesday games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Conference Finals games, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning SU record, 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games as an underdog, and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog.
The Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5 points, 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a SU win, 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite, and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 19, 2015