Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5 (of 14) ESPN experts pick the Hawks over the Cavs

"Somebody at ESPN picked against me? They're fired." (Frank Gunn/AP photo/The Canadian Press)

One of my favorite parts of any postseason is to see how many of ESPN experts -- the Worldwide Leader indeed leads the world in experts -- pick the local team. Usually it's not many, which only feeds into our suspicion that the Bristol gang hates Atlanta.

I don't think it's hate. I think it's more -- borrowing the words of Steve Holman, the voice of the Hawks -- that Atlanta teams "don't fit ESPN's narrative." (ESPN also leads the world in "narrative.")

Which is why I was mildly surprised to note that five ESPN basketball contributors are picking the Atlanta Hawks over LeBron's team . Five of 14, to be exact. That's 35.7 percent. That's more than a third. By ESPN/Atlanta standards, that's a mandate.

Of the five who pick the Hawks, four see them taking the series in seven games. ( So do I. ) One -- Michael Wallace -- has them winning in six. Of the nine who predict a Cleveland victory, only two foresee the Cavs winning a Game 7. Five have them winning in six. One -- Amin Elhassan -- has them winning in five.

If you really want to see unanimity at play, check ESPN's predictions for the Western Conference finals. All 14 pick Golden State. I guess ESPN hates Houston, too.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.