After a 104-93 loss in game one to the Cavaliers on Monday night, the Atlanta Hawks look to bounce back tonight in game two to even the series at a game apiece. In game one, the Hawks were able to come back from 18 points down in the third quarter in Cleveland to take the lead in the fourth quarter with less than eight minutes to play. Dennis Schroder had one of his better games for the Hawks in his short playoff career with a team high 27 points off the bench. If the Atlanta Hawks want to split the first two games and win tonight, they will have to play better and not let the supporting cast of the Cavaliers get involved in the game. Here are a couple keys to the game for the Hawks if they want a win going back home tonight.
The Atlanta Hawks need to contain the Cavs
What I mean by this is, the Hawks will need to stop everyone other than LeBron James to have a chance to win the game tonight. Let’s face it, there is not one player in the NBA who is going to stop Lebron James from scoring the basketball. If the Hawks are able to contain the likes of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and J.R, Smith, they will force Lebron into bad passes and put more pressure on him to make shots. This is where the Hawks can be stout on defense and deny the ball and force LeBron to shoot, which he is not accustomed to doing. The Hawks will need to play excellent perimeter defense, something they did not do well in game one. Which saw the Cavs start the game on fire from behind the arc. If the Hawks are able to keep the supporting cast of the Cavs in check, then they have a chance to win the game tonight.
Al Horford has to play better
In all seriousness, this could be Al Horford’s last playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks as he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after this year. If he wants to be paid like a max player, he needs to play like one in one of the most crucial games for the Hawks this season. One of Al’s best shots is his mid-range shot from the free throw line. When he is knocking that shot down, it opens up a lot of options for the Hawks on offense and I believe that is when they are at their best. Horford also is a skilled passer and when he attracts extra defenders, he can pass it to one of our open shooters and they will be able to knock down uncontested shots. If Horford is able to have a bounce back game tonight, the Hawks will benefit and might be able to take a game from Cleveland.
The Atlanta Hawks have a tough task tonight. They must play great defense and have the starters and bench play great in order for them to win at Quicken Loans Arena tonight. I believe that Al Horford will have a better game tonight and Kent Bazemore will create a spark on offense for the Hawks that will push them to be more physical against the Cavs. I believe if the Hawks do these things and play great defense, they will win 98-92. It should be an exciting game at the Q.