With the NBA season winding down, it is becoming increasingly clear that the title may well go to a team that has never won a title — or at least has not won a title in years. Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers are the favorite team to come out of the East and the Golden State Warriors possess the best record in the entire league and are the predominant favorite to come out of the West, it is fairly clear that this year’s marquee matchup is going to feature LeBron and Company against the emergent Stephen Curry.
The Cavaliers started the season as the favorites to win the NBA title (and still are at +300 odds,) largely because LeBron decided to take his talents away from South Beach. However, the East has become a particularly dangerous place. There aren’t nearly as many contenders lurking in the East as there are in the other conference, but the Atlanta Hawks definitely will have something to say about whether the Cavs keep that favorite status. Cleveland had fallen under .500 but had an eleven-game winning streak that restored hopes. A lot of people, though, didn’t even thing the Hawks would qualify for the playoffs before the season began, but now they look poised to make deep playoff run. The Hawks’ last title? 1958. Of course, they didn’t play in Atlanta then. They played in St. Louis, a city that hasn’t had pro basketball since the ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis took what would become one of the most lucrative buyout deals in the history of commerce — but that’s another story.
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