The Cleveland Cavaliers have been in an amazing form during the Playoffs, as they lead 2-0 in the best of seven Eastern Conference finals.
The Cavs put up a clinical performance against the Hawks at Philips Arena with the score reading 94-82 in the second game of the series. Despite a below par performance in the last quarter of the game, the Cavs rallied for a cruising win.
With game 3 set to be played on Sunday, Atlanta Hawks are aware about the importance of the game at Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio, where they have to win the game at any cost, else their chances of reaching NBA finals only decreases.
LeBron James has looked sharp in each and every game for the Cavs and he has been impossible to stop. He finished game 2 with 30 points, which also included 9 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Hawks need to come with better strategy to stop James from taking the game by storm. Even Hawks' coach Mike Budenholzer is aware of it.
''There's no doubt we have to do a better job defending him, both individually and as a team,'' AP quoted Budenholzer as saying.
''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.''
But, Budenholzer must also realise that the team has not been very impressive on the offensive side as well. Players such as Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap need to prove their skills, else they might be shown the exit door by the Cavs within the next few matches.
What made game 2 victory much more sweeter was that the Cavs did it without the services of Kyrie Irving, which explains the depth in their squad as well. In Irving's absence, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova rose to the occasion with 16 and 11 points respectively.
Irving sat out game 2 with left knee tendonitis and his presence for game 3 is still in doubt. Talking about Irving, Cavs's coach, David Blatt said, "If he's able to play, then he'll play."
''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.''
It might be wise to give their star player some good rest as he might have an important role to play in the NBA finals, as the Cavs are favourite to defeat the Hawks in the conference finals after a dominant display so far in the series.
Where to Watch Live
The NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference finals game 3 between Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks is scheduled for 8:30pm ET (6am IST, 1:30am BST) start.
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on TNT while Indian audience can watch it on Sony Six.
NBA fans can also watch the Playoffs live on NBA.com