Welcome to potentially the last game of the Hawks’ season. Down 3-0 to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals, it wouldn’t be accurate to say they have zero chance today against the Cavaliers (3:30 p.m., Philips Arena). But that’s certainly the way to bet. Cleveland is a five-point favorite as a road team.
More importantly, consider these trends:
• This is the sixth time in franchise history the Hawks have trailed a best-of-seven playoff series 3-0. In each of the previous five occasions, they lost Game 4 and were swept. Two of the five came against Cleveland. Chronologically: 1970 in the Western Division finals against Los Angeles (lost on the road 133-114); 1999 Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks (lost on the road 79-66); 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals against Cleveland (lost at home 84-74); 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals against Orlando (lost at home 98-84); 2015 Eastern Conference finals (lost on the road 118-88). To recap, the losing deficits were 19, 13, 10. 14, 30.
• The Cavaliers are 6-0 all time in Game 4’s when leading 3-0. That includes last year’s first round against Boston, the conference finals against the Hawks and this year’s first round against Detroit.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he again will go with Thabo Sefolosha in the starting lineup and bring Kyle Korver off the bench. That worked for three-plus quarters, when the Hawks led by as much as 11 points. But nothing made a difference down the stretch when the Cavs turned it on — and I’m not sure it’s going to make a difference today.
Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox
- When Hawks’ season wrap up, Mike Budenholzer may need some help
- Hawks better but Cavaliers are on another level
- There’s a kernel of truth to what Charles Barkley says about Hawks
- Rest of series for Hawks is about big picture
- It’s about time Coppolella, Hart take ownership of Braves’ problems
- Falcons have issues but Blank may be right about playoff projection
- Full Q&A with Arthur Blank on his health, draft and playoffs
- Arthur Blank: Falcons will be playoff team in 2016
- Magic Johnson pitches for LeBron, Durant to Lakers (uh, tampering?)
- Breaking! Hawks are big underdogs to LeBron James, Cavaliers
- Hawks’ defense gets its stiffest test: LeBron James
- One for the history books: Hawks eliminate Celtics
- Have Hawks figured out winning formula?
- Hawks stood tall by going small vs. Celtics
- Falcons needs to get it right with defensive picks
- Braves reportedly have tried to trade Olivera (who has zero value)
- One-man basketball won’t get job done for Hawks
- As Hawks look to rebound, some thoughts on Game 4 vs. Celtics
- Hawks would be wise to stay cool after Thomas’ slap
- Hawks’ Schroder: ‘I’m not going to let nobody slap me in my face’
- Hawks not making it easy on themselves
- Hawks will try to buck history in Game 3 against Boston
- Bigger surprise than Braves’ record: Freeman hitting .163
- Liberty CEO’s comments reaffirm: Braves need new ownership
- Matt Ryan says he’s confident in Kyle Shanahan, Falcons’ offense
- Only one side of Olivera-Wood trade is around for Braves-Dodgers series
- Jacob Eason good but 93,000 is real highlight of Georgia’s spring
- Hawks go into playoffs knowing changes to core may be ahead