The 2015 Eastern Conference Finals gets underway Wednesday night pitting the Atlanta Hawks against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 at Philips Arena. Despite being the No. 1 seed and holding home court advantage, Atlanta enters the series as the underdog.
We did our best to give you an overall look at the series on Tuesday which can be found here. Now here is what others are saying about the series in advance of Game 1.
Peachtree Hoops and Fear the Sword answered some questions for SB Nation.com including our prediction for the series. In an interesting note, Mike Prada was the only SB Nation NBA writer to pick the Hawks to win although everyone thinks the series will go at least six games.
SB Nation's Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller preview each conference finals matchup to determine who has the edge. Both picked Cleveland to win, but its not quite the slam dunk that it might seem.
Grantland's Zach Lowe goes in depth on both conference finals matchups and levies his prediction for each series. If you are interested in the Xs and Os and looking for insight on some of the decisions that Mike Budenholzer and David Blatt will be forced to make then this is the article you have been looking for.
Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer was impressed with the Atlanta Hawks during the regular season but not so much during the playoffs. He picks the Cavs to take the series in five games.
The Hawks just haven't been anywhere near as fun to watch as the team that traipsed all over most of the NBA during the regular season. Lining up against what could be a lacking defensive team in Cleveland could be the cure to that aesthetic ailment, but after a month off (and considering the team's lack of pop during a rather listless series against a clock-watching Brooklyn team), can that style be resurrected?
Amin Elhassan and Bradford Doolittle break down Hawks-Cavs for ESPN.com Insider. Elhassan picks the Cavs in 5 while Doolittle goes with the Hawks in 7. Elhassan points to the midseason changes that Cleveland made that transformed their season. Doolittle thinks Atlanta has enough weapons to exploit the loss of Kevin Love.
Chicago wasn't able to fully exploit Love's absence, but I think Atlanta has just the right weapons to do so. Irving is going to have a hard time keeping Teague out of the lane, while Al Horford and Paul Millsap can draw Mozgov and Tristan Thompson away from the hoop. If Dave Blatt goes small, Atlanta's bigs can move down to the block on offense and are mobile enough to not get burned at the other end. I feel like over a long series, the Hawks will have the Cavaliers scrambling.
Tip-off from Philips Arena is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. so here is plenty of reading to get you caught up and ready for Game 1. You have heard our take on the series and now you have what others are saying. What is your Eastern Conference Finals prediction? Let us know in the comments.