Atlanta Hawks Versus Milwaukee Bucks Eastern Conference Finals Preview
After coming off a disappointing end to a 2020 season, the Milwaukee Bucks have found themselves playing in the Eastern Conference Finals once again. It’s their first appearance in the game since 2019, when they fell to the Toronto Raptors.
For the most part, the same faces remain since their heart-breaking defeat against Toronto, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez. However, there’s one new face that has made a difference with the Bucks this season.
Guard Jrue Holiday came over in a trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday adds another element to the Bucks roster that they did not have in previous seasons. He is an elite defender and is capable of making crucial shots if called upon to do so.
It was the presence of Holiday on the court that allowed Milwaukee to gain momentum and defeat the Brooklyn Nets in a seven-game series. Now that the series with Brooklyn is over, the Bucks will face an even dangerous opponent in the Atlanta Hawks.
By far, Atlanta has been the most impressive team in the playoffs this season. They were able to take down the New York Knicks in five games and took advantage of a 76ers team that failed to capitalize in the fourth quarter. If the Bucks do not handle things in game one versus Atlanta and fail to improve in the following matchups, it will be a long series for Milwaukee. The Bucks are a good defensive team, but the keys to success in this series will be to minimize the damage that Trae Young can do at any given moment.
Even if Milwaukee’s defense can allow Young only to score 20-points in a game, he can still be effective. The Bucks must also slow down Atlanta’s other potent shooters in Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lou Williams, and Kevin Huerter. While minimizing the Hawks scoring arsenal is paramount, Milwaukee will need to put points on the board throughout the series consistently.
So far, we have learned throughout this year’s playoffs is that no lead is safe. Atlanta has shown that they are capable of bouncing back from any deficit. That’s why scoring for Milwaukee will be so crucial.
As for Atlanta, they must continue to do what has gotten them to this point of the postseason, which is playing good defense and make quality shots. A strategy that can play in their favor is to disrupt the “Greek Freak” while driving into the lane. While Antetokounmpo is going to the basket and the Hawks aggressively defend him, the referees will most likely blow the whistle.
At the free-throw line, Antetokoumpo has not been the best free-throw shooter. During the 2020-2021 regular season, his free-throw percentage was 57.5%. The “Greek Freak’s” inability to effectively make free throws can allow Atlanta to gain momentum throughout the series. However, his teammates, such as Khris Middleton, are highly proficient from the three-point line and can make up for what Antetokoumpo may lack in scoring. If the Hawks’ defense can neutralize the impact of both Antetokoumpo and Middleton, the chances of them winning this series will improve drastically.
The Atlanta Hawks are a great story and have elevated themselves to becoming a top threat in the Eastern Conference. However, their time among the NBA’s elite this season will come to an end versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee has the better and deeper roster that should be able to contain what opposition that Atlanta may forecast throughout this matchup.
Bucks Wins Series 4-2
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