Hawks Will Not Beat Cavaliers Without DeMarre Carroll
The Atlanta Hawks had four All-Stars among their starting five this season but the one who wasn’t was forward DeMarre Carroll. Yet he has been the team’s best player in this postseason and is easily the team’s top defender. He is the guy who guards LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Hawks may not have Carroll for Game 2 on Friday night. Atlanta is a 1.5-point favorite on NBA odds at BetOnline with a total of 197.
Carroll injured his knee knee in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s 97-89 win in Game 1 on a fast break when he landed awkwardly on his left foot as he gathered the ball to elevate for a layup attempt. He was being guarded by Cavs wing Iman Shumpert, although there was no contact on the play. It looked really bad as players, coaches and trainers gathered around Carroll on the baseline before he was helped to his feet. He couldn’t put pressure on the leg as he was helped off the floor and to the locker room.
The good news is an MRI revealed no structural damage. There is no ligament or structural damage in the knee, nor any cartilage tears, merely a small bone bruise. Carroll is listed as questionable for Game 2. The Hawks’ offense has been more than 12 points per 100 possessions better this postseason with Carroll on the court.
If Carroll is out there aren’t many options that Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer has for LeBron — . especially without veteran swingman Thabo Sefolosha, whose season ended in April when he allegedly suffered a broken right fibula and torn ligaments while in custody of the New York Police Department following his arrest with teammate Pero Antic at a Manhattan nightclub. With Carroll gone on Wednesday, Budenholzer turned primarily to Paul Millsap to guard James.
“We’ll look at everything,” Budenholzer said. “I think any time you have to match up anybody with the top players in our league it’s a challenge, but Paul is up to that challenge and we’ll figure out what gives us our best chance, best opportunity. And part of it is who else is on the floor for Cleveland.”
James scored 31 points in the Cavs’ 97-89 win on Wednesday, but he struggled when the 6-8 Millsap guarded him after Carroll’s injury. James, who was stuck in a rut of pounding the ball in isolation before taking a shot late in the shot clock, missed his first five shots against Millsap.
In Game 1, Cleveland held the Hawks to 89 points on .442 shooting from the field, including just 38 points on 12-39 (.308) shooting in the second half. The Cavs also limited the Hawks to 4-23 (.174) shooting from the three-point line. Cleveland has the best defensive numbers among all teams left in the postseason, leading the way in opponent points per game (92.3), opponent field goal percentage (.411), opponent three-point percentage (.292) and blocks per game (7.3).
The Cavs outrebounded the Hawks 49-37 in Game 1, improving to a perfect 9-0 this postseason when the team ties or outrebound its opponent. The +12 advantage on the glass was tied for Cleveland’s 2nd biggest rebound margin so far in the playoffs.
Key Betting Trends
Cavaliers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
Cavaliers are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games playing on 1 days rest.
Cavaliers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 Friday games.
Hawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
Hawks are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Under is 6-1 in Cavaliers last 7 road games.
Under is 5-1 in Cavaliers last 6 Friday games.
Under is 4-1 in Cavaliers last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
Home team is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Atlanta.
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