Game 3 Preview: Hawks vs. Cavaliers

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during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a commanding 2-0 position in the Eastern Conference Finals. They have the next two games at home and are trying to take a 3-0 lead tonight in Game 3. Kyrie Irving is questionable for tonight’s game as he sat out Game 2 in Atlanta. Without Irving the Cavaliers still fared well against the Hawks and will be trying to do the same again tonight.

Irving had tendinitis issues in Game 1 that forced him to sit out Friday night but LeBron James and company did what they knew best and took over from the beginning of the contest. Coach Blatt told the media what to expect of Irving for tonight’s game,

“If he’s able to play, then he’ll play,” Blatt said. “He’s a big part of the team, and this series is not finished. But if he’s not able to play, he won’t. That’s the determining factor.”

When LeBron James’ teams take a 2-0 lead in the series they are an unbeatable 14-0 in the games following. Expect nothing less from the Cavaliers as James is determined to carry this team to their first NBA Finals since 2007, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

For Atlanta, the injury bug just seems to never leave them this series. They had an injury scare to Demarre Carroll Their best shooter Kyle Korver will be out for the remainder of the playoffs due to an ankle injury. 

BREAKING: Kyle Korver is OUT for the remainder of the playoffs with ankle injury.

— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) May 23, 2015

This Hawks team was dominated by J.R. Smith in Game 1 and LeBron James in Game 2 at home, and now it will be even harder for them to climb back into the series without one of their four all-stars.

Coach Budenholzer spoke about how they are trying to stop James, who is averaging 30.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the series,

“There’s no doubt we have to do a better job defending him, both individually and as a team,” Budenholzer said. “We’ve got to do a better job taking away the passing lanes, a better job arriving on the pass and a better job contesting shots. That’s really not any different than what it was coming into the series. But as you see it, experience it, feel it, hopefully we’ll get better as the series goes on.”

Expect Kent Bazemore to take the place of Korver tonight. I fully expect the Cavaliers to dominate Game 3 as they did in the first two. LeBron is hungrier than ever to win this title for Cleveland who hasn’t won a title in any major sport since 1964. The Hawks have no match for LeBron defensively. It hurt them in the first two games, and it will be hurting them even more in Game 3.

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