Can Any Eastern Conference Team Contend with Hawks or Cavaliers?

March 17th, 2015 by Vytis Lasaitis Leave a reply »

Most people have probably already penciled in the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers to meet in the seemingly inevitable clash for the Eastern Conference crown.

But things change fast, and the two powerhouses weren't the clear-cut favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals until recently.

It took a little time for fans to buy into the hype of the supremely balanced Hawks, but their solitary reign at the top of the Eastern Conference standings for most of the season is simply impossible to ignore. Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer has crafted a system that caters to the strengths of his talented roster—a roster featuring an abundance of All-Star-quality studs—without the need for a true superstar.

The Hawks are effective because everyone has bought into the system. Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Al Horford complement each other well, and Budenholzer has been squeezing the best out of his talented core.

The Cavaliers' road to being recognized as one of the Eastern Conference contenders was rocky. Cleveland looked nothing like the team it ...

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