Eastern Conference Finals Preview- A Precursor To Fame

The NBA’s eastern side of the bracket has given us some history making performances already and the Finals should be a doozy. The Milwaukee Bucks have finally made it, after years of sporting the league’s MVP and a number one seed. Will they take it a step further and make their first NBA Finals since 1974?

The Atlanta Hawks are playing the role of unusual suspect during these playoffs. They’ve already dispatched two higher seeds, winning a total of five road games in the first two rounds. Will the upset minded Hawks knock off a third higher seed to reach the final step in what has become a very quick franchise rebuild process?

 

Keys To The Game

The Hawks have come back from some terrific deficits during the postseason, but playing from ahead might be a better bet in this one. Keeping the Bucks in a situation where they have to match points has proven to be detrimental to Milwaukee at times.

Trae Young is averaging 29.1 points and 10.4 assists for the postseason. Young’s ability to get into the lane and score will be an asset, seeing as how Milwaukee will try and run him off the three point line. Young should try to take advantage and draw fouls against Milwaukee’s interior defenders.

Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter must hit their long range shots. Not only will the team need the scoring, but all three can handle the ball at times, giving Young a breather or even running plays for him off-ball.

The defense’s biggest concern should be Kris Middleton. He’s been able to hit big shots that have kept Milwaukee in games. If coach Nate McMillan can find a way to at least disrupt his flow, they can pressure other players into shots they aren’t used to.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has to continue to attack the basket. When he is in attack mode he starts to rack up points as well as rebounds.

The Bucks will definitely need Middleton and Jrue Holiday’s scoring to flank Antetokounmpo.The three players have combined to score just over 70 points per game in the last series for a team that barely cracks 100.

They’ll also have to get some more off their bench scoring wise. The starters have to play way too many minutes, leaving them drained in late game situations.

Milwaukee will need to continue to attack the offensive glass. The Bucks are averaging 12.3 offensive rebounds per game in the playoffs and it has led to some timely scoring.

They will have to keep a hand in the face of Atlanta’s shooters. Under no circumstance can the Hawks be allowed to shoot open jumpers. Milwaukee must disrupt the shooters coming off screens and keep an extra defender with an eye on Young.

 

X-Factor

John Collins will be needed on both sides of the floor. He’s going to have to contend with Antetokounmpo, while giving the Hawks some punch on offense.

P. J. Tucker’s intensity and defense will be a bonus for the Bucks. He can give then a real boost if he can knock down a few more threes, seeing as how Milwaukee will be searching for offense.

 

Prediction

The Hawks should be able to steal a game or two on the road. I’ll go with Atlanta to win the series 4-2.

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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