The top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers have not dominated opponents from beginning to end in most of their playoff games this year, but their finishing ability has been stronger than any team in the East so far.
The fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks found that out the hard way Monday in a 104-93 loss to the Cavaliers in Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series. Cleveland covered as a 7.5-point home favorite and is listed as seven-point chalk for Game 2 on Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
Like the Detroit Pistons in the first round, the Hawks hung tough against the Cavs for three quarters before fading down the stretch against the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Atlanta actually led 88-87 with 4:28 remaining, but Cleveland closed strong with a 17-5 run to improve to 5-0 in the postseason. The Cavs also moved to 9-0 all-time against the Hawks in the playoffs with the victory.
Cleveland has an eight-game series winning streak versus Atlanta overall as well, going 7-1 against the spread, according to the Odds Shark NBA Database. LeBron James had one of his most well-rounded performances of the playoffs in Game 1 for the Cavs, scoring 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting, dishing out nine assists, grabbing seven rebounds and coming up with five steals.
James had failed to make more than half of his shots in the previous two games against Detroit and has now converted 49.5 percent.
The Hawks have failed to cover the past five meetings with Cleveland, with the under cashing in the last two following a 4-0 over run on the betting lines at the sportsbooks. They have scored more than 97 points only twice in the last eight between the teams and need to play much better offensively to have any shot in this series.
In their three wins over the Cavs during the 2014-15 regular season, they averaged 114 points, and two of them went over the total. Atlanta has not won at Quicken Loans Arena since a 127-98 rout as a seven-point underdog back on December 17, 2014, going 0-5 straight up and 1-4 ATS in the last five there.