Numbers preview: Hawks-Cavaliers

VIDEO: All-access: The top-seeded Hawks and Warriors advance

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Though they both looked vulnerable at times, the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers took care of business to give us the conference finals matchup we’ve been anticipating since the Hawks went on a 33-2 run after Thanksgiving.

This series is a contrast of styles. The Cavs are a team that relies heavily on LeBron James, especially with Kevin Love out for the postseason and Kyrie Irving dealing with leg injuries. The Hawks, meanwhile, like to share the wealth.

While James has been to the conference finals seven times in his 12-year career, this is the first trip there for the Hawks since 1970. Kyle Korver (in 2011 with Chicago) and Paul Millsap (in 2007 with Utah) are their only rotation players who have been here before.

But the Hawks have the knowledge that they tore up what had been an improved Cleveland defense in the final regular-season meeting between the two teams. In the regular season, only one team — New Orleans — scored more efficiently against the Cavs than Atlanta did.

The Cavs scored pretty efficiently against the Hawks too. And the conference finals promises to bring new wrinkles to this matchup. James faced the San Antonio Spurs in the last two Finals. To get there again, he’ll have to get through the Spurs of the East.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the Eastern Conference finals, with links to let you dive in and explore more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Atlanta Hawks (60-22)

Beat Brooklyn in six games.
Beat Washington in six games.
Pace: 96.8 (6)
OffRtg: 102.0 (9)
DefRtg: 98.2 (2)
NetRtg: +3.9 (4)

Regular season: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups
vs. Cleveland: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups
Playoffs: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups

Hawks playoff notes:

Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29)

Beat Boston in four games.
Beat Chicago in six games.
Pace: 92.9 (16)
OffRtg: 108.2 (1)
DefRtg: 98.8 (4)
NetRtg: +9.5 (1)

Overall: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups
vs. Atlanta: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups
Playoffs: Team stats | Player stats | Lineups

Cavs playoff notes:

The matchup

Season series: Hawks won 3-1 (2-0 in Atlanta)
Pace: 95.4
ATL OffRtg: 114.2 (2nd vs. CLE)
CLE OffRtg: 110.8 (4th vs. ATL)

Matchup notes:


  1. sjflippen says:

    I think People will still be excited to see GS and Hawks…….Why is no one speaking about this?

  2. Jack23 says:

    idiot Hawks fans or just a HATERS of the KING,…damn excuses excuses,…give it all out, i know most of you will find excusess early as this, damn COWARD fans who are trying to down their own league, many of them just dont know how to appreciate game of basketball, and does your Hawks have the go-to-guy?..nope…and as Lebron did against Bulls, he will BULLDOZ his way and will again to win and go back to the FINALS again..

  3. Ryan says:

    Regular season stats basically won’t matter now. Playoffs is a different level of basketball. Experience, grit, clutch, and of course coaching adjustments will matter most during playoffs…

  4. Gen_Tigas says:

    Lebron lacks of killer instincts and heart like bird, magic, kobe and mj. I am a Heat Fan and I will be rooting for the Hawks to win this series in seven games. Not because I’m bitter that Lebron leave the Heat but simply because the Hawks is playing better basketball than the Cavs. Korver will be the barometer for hawks while smith for the Cavs. Inside play of Millsap and Horford will also be the key. Hawks in 7.

  5. hawks will win easy…pero antic will play like kevin love

  6. Yanotk says:

    I think the Cavs are playing better right now than during the season. Tristan Thompson is playing great and Love is not being missed as much as I thought. If Kyrie is still hobbling when the series begins that spells trouble for Cleveland. I also feel that Lebron is not playing as well as he once did. It was very hard for me to see Dellavedova getting all those minutes but I have to admit he is making a contribution. Imam and JR are making significant contributions and Mosgov has to be one of the premier big men in the league.

    I’d be surprised if the Hawks win. Really surprised!

  7. Greg says:

    Yeah the refs rigged it so that KLove shoulder was dislocated…oh yeah they rigged it so that Kyrie’s foot and knee are out of whack….the NBA rigged it so that Varejao’s achilles got ruptured….oh yeah they rigged it so that Wall’s hand got fractured…oh yeah they rigged it so that Paul Pierce’s shot was a split second late. Atlanta fans want so badly for their team to win that they have to resort to having a built in excuse if their team loses. A lot of them are cowards…can’t root for a team that might lose so let’s make up an excuse to protect our precious ego.

  8. Rhamzii says:

    Fans nowadays are blaming the refs or officials regarding on what will be the result of the game. Let us face it, everything in a game isn’t completely on one side. I mean the teams who are battling in the court for them to gain a win have the fair share of good and bad calls from the officials. Don’t just close your mind about bad calls that is an advantage to one team. Let us enjoy what the game can bring us enjoyment and accept what will be the result. ATLANTA HAWKS or CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS or HOUSTON ROCKETS, by the end of the day they will represent the conference and be a CHAMPION of the league.

  9. dustydreamnz says:

    Pretty sure Spurs/Hawks comparison was in reference to how both teams play well as a team.

  10. Hawky tonk man says:

    The only rigged games that I know, is the lakers vs kings series!.. the rest all conspiracy excuses…😆

  11. John says:

    Cavs can win even hawks can win this series.. We will just find out who team will win – 4!!!!!

  12. harriethehawk says:

    Let the games begin. I like that there are 4 different teams playing in the final four and not the usual suspects. It’s going to be fun to watch and it’s all intriguing to me. Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!

  13. Jeff says:

    Cavs in 6, from a Cavs fan. The Cavs have a way better defense than they did in the regular season, or than the Hawks have seen yet in the playoffs. Add in their offensive rebounding and the fact Atlanta turns the ball over more, and I expect them to win. Specifically:
    Game 1 – Cavs – catch Atlanta with their defense and rebounds.
    Game 2 – Hawks – adjustments and home crowd help
    Game 3 – Cavs – Home crowd and adjustments
    Game 4 – Cavs – Home crowd. No more adjustments to make
    Game 5 – Hawks – A must win game at home
    Game 6 – Cavs – We will close out. We will not lose 2 in a row.

  14. dash2k8 says:

    The Hawks are the Spurs of the East!? As in, 5 championships in the last 19 years? The reference makes no sense at all.

  15. Jorge says:

    I wish cynical comments like the ones above came after the fact and with some proof. Commenting on an NBA site, while holding such a cynical view of the tournament gives the impression that you may be just trying to stir the pot and not really care specifically about any of this.

    Similar comments were made last year, how smaller market San Antonio would not get the championship because a three-peat made for a better story-line, etc. If anything, it seems like games are less and less decided by external factors and more by random events (like injuries) or mental slips (like the Clippers).

    I am looking forward to these Conference Finals, they are match-up that should not be short on good basketball, show, and competition.

  16. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    King James !!!!!!

  17. Janice says:

    GO HAWKS. One thing they can’t take from you is your shots. You have to make them. Otherwise the referee’s will help the Cavaliers.

  18. Gabe says:

    I don’t know how you can compare this hawks team to the Spurs. I am not a Spurs fan I hate the spurs but for you to say ” To get there again, he’ll have to get through the Spurs of the East” is just crazy

  19. Charlie says:

    Without Love and an injured Irving against a healthy 4-all star players of the HAWKS? Do the math…

  20. Jake says:

    Cavs all the way

  21. Gerry says:

    Just know that playoff is a different animal. Those stats on the sheet doesn’t count and matter as well. The Cavs playing regular season and the one in the postseason is different. The series starts at 0-0

  22. Siah Dtb says:

    Im a Miami Heat fan been one for years, but i personally see Cleveland taking this series in 6 games, Has anybody taken a moment to think that The Hawks struggled against the Nets & with luck took the series against the Wizards, Hawks really dont have a “Go to guy” like Cleveland has with LeBron, Perimeter defense is gonna be key for both teams because that’s where most of their points come from, i cant wait to see the Horford- Mozgov match up & Thompson is gonna be reckless on the offensive boards.

  23. adamq says:

    The Atlanta Hawks have a way better chance of beating Cleveland than the Rockets do of beating the Warriors. I think the possibility of Hawks-Rockets finals is not as far-fetched as ppl think it is. It’s going to be a good Conference Finals.

  24. Macfarlane says:

    Oh Atlanta, ooooh Atlanta. Would Cleveland get by you?

  25. Addis says:

    The Hawks of the regular season will show up. Hawks in 5. Take it to Vegas

  26. Grimm says:

    Cavs will win as said head515 because it’s business and the refs have the interest of the league which is money, I haven’t watched a well reffed game since the early 00’s late 90’s; bevfore the game went soft and for the money.

  27. Alejandro says:

    Hello, everybody im with you aboth Atlanta is better team tan Cleveland, but the NBA will make it happen, Curry or Harden VS Lebron. This is a business, i would love Atlanta to beat Cleveland, but that wont happen.

  28. me says:

    WOW Mr Head515…you already put your excuses in ahead of time if the Hawks lose this series. So, if Hawks lose its because its a conspiracy? What if the Hawks win….where does your conspiracy theory occur then? Or, maybe Cavs fan can blame it on injuries or the Refs…nahhh, if cavs lose real cavs fans don’t blame others for losses like you. LOSER!!!

  29. nikkifree3 says:

    NBA…watch your crooked refs. Call this game fair. Hawks win if the refs/TV people are forced to make this an HONEST game. No giving BronBron his flopping calls. No phantom fouls against the Hawks. Call the darn game FAIR.

    If the NBA actually ensures this is not a crooked series then the Hawks win the series. EASY BET. The trick is if the NBA will actually allow the game to be played fair.

  30. jeisenjan says:

    go cavs!

  31. Cup Of Tea says:

    woah, everyone ‘s talking about cavs wining for business sake…maybe i see things deifferently for not beeing american but hear this good people of the basketball world: we’re in 2015 not 2002 so the games can’t be rigged anymore per se, however there’ll always be issue with refs…you can’t be fair to both teams…ther’ll be always somebody whining and since 2nd round i wouldn’t be so sure in your statements if i were you…i mean, just look at the ” no charge calls” against James or Blake (fail) for example…that’s their game…they’re going to be physical and they know how to create contact and they don’t get the calls as they should because it would be 4hour game time. if you’re speaking of endorsments and business i suggest you look the other way towards houston or GS…it’s the young guys turn to make big bucks.. just sayin

  32. Houston Fan says:

    Sad that delusional Hawks fans are trying to threaten NBA to let their team win by saying that league is rigged and Hawks will lose… Have you seen them play a game in this series yet?! Where did you get that confidence that Hawks will win as long as the series is clean and properly called?! So if a superstar team win against a starless team it’s definitely for the sake of ticket sales and ratings?!

  33. Thomas says:

    Tough to say who is going to win this one…

    Kyrie’s injury isn’t getting any better, Dellavedova’s tactics won’t work against a mature Hawks team, and it’s time for some new players to make a name for themselves in the finals! The Hawks won’t.. no, they CAN’T let this slip away from them… Cleveland will have many opportunities, this might be one of the few ones for the Hawks…

    Hawks in 5.

  34. truth says:

    why this series didnt start earlier than the west finals ?
    nba favors cavs so obviously gives alot of time to rest duh rigged

  35. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    Cavs in 5.

  36. bluebird says:

    Naw the NBA doesn’t rig its games or else SOMEONE would have noticed and spoken up by now, probably one of the players. You can say the players are being paid by the NBA so they keep quiet about it, and they do sure get paid a lot. But the younger players who are just barely not good enough for the NBA or the players who sit on the bench most of the game? Information like that trickled down, and keeping that quiet for an extended time is improbable. I mean, yeah the NBA is a business, and they have something to benefit, but rigging the games could backfire on them and destroy their reputation, costing them money.

    So I disagree with both of the other commenters. This is going to be a good series.

  37. Robert Beekman says:

    It will be a close and tight game. Hard to predict the outcome.

  38. jeffery richardson says:

    follow the money cavs win east , hawks can not sell like lebron

  39. head515 says:

    This series is a no-brainer… Obviously the NBA will give it (or make) Cleveland the winner because of James. Considering all the endorsements and the name of of it’s brand (NBA), Cleveland will take this series… Personally, I want the CAVS to lose; but I know it won’t happen ‘cuz it’s business

    • MisterY.... says:

      Yup, Cavs will win no matter what it’s the NBA. They want a Lebron vs Splash Brothers in the “Final”!

    • Basketball Fan says:

      Right.. right. Keep telling yourself that.

    • Kome the Black Dumba says:

      Then why Magic vs Lakers years ago? Won’t Lebron Vs Kobe more intriguing?

      Or the league scared Kobe will lose to Lebron or vice versa?

    • ordinary fan says:

      bitter!!! How can you say that are you a basketball lover well I guess not. Or may be a fan of different team which defeated by the cavaliers. Crab mentality even in basketball are you blind winning the game through buzzer beater how can you say it business? Just face the truth LBJ is the greatest player of our era so SHUT UP and dont make any excuses

    • ArvinPH says:

      Is that even posible? I didnt know theres a nasty business inside the nba head515

    • Cup Of Tea says:

      you serious? woah…good thing than there’re still people watching the sport…derp

    • jeisenjan says:

      strong statement…huh?

    • KG&PP says:

      bitter lakers fan….

    • Don says:

      I wouldn’t give up just yet. LeBron is going to be played tight because Cleveland relies on him so much. The Hawks do not have a superstar on the team, but they are deep with very good players that play well together and any of them can burn you at any giving time, and it’s not just the starters, it includes the bench as well. If Korver ever heats up, the Hawks are going to be very tough to beat. I think the Hawks are going to take this series, it will not be easy, but I believe they will get it.

    • David says:

      Obviously, the argument that “it’s all rigged” is very common among NBA fans. But the Heat got dismantled in last year’s Finals. So does this mean that the bias ends once the NBA Finals start or what?

    • Dude shut up you sound stupid. Business really that’s why Cavs is going to win this Series? nobody is handed a series in any sport you have to earn it.

    • Kyle says:

      Youve got to be kidding me…Dumbest thing ive seen in awhile.

      • Kyle says:

        LeBron isnt winning because of the NBA, he is winning because as a team the cavs are doing enough of the right things they need to do to win…Not because LeBron has endorsements and its a business…smh

    • Kkanakis says:

      I don’t understand when people make wild accusations of conspiracy. Where exactly is the evidence to support this?