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5 reasons why Atlanta Hawks lost to Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals | 2021 NBA Playoffs

Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Charles Eluemuno

The Milwaukee Bucks were determined to get revenge against the Atlanta Hawks after a narrow loss in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at the Fiserv Forum. Not only did they do that, they also won the game convincingly, beating the Hawks 125-91.

While the first quarter was a close affair, the Atlanta Hawks lost their way in the second quarter, mustering only 17 points compared to the Milwaukee Bucks' 43. Throughout the game, the Hawks never led the game.

It is difficult to pick out a Milwaukee Bucks player who put a foot wrong in this fixture. It looks like the team learned from Game 1 and came out aggressive against an Atlanta Hawks team that looked dead in the water.

Trae Young endured another horrible shooting night and is struggling to stay consistent. Tasked with the responsibility of leading the Hawks to the NBA Finals against a dogged Milwaukee Bucks lineup, he needs to produce every night.

Most of the fourth quarter was played by the reserves, as both teams decided to rest their key players ahead of Game 3. The Milwaukee Bucks controlled the game throughout and led by as many as 41 points late in the third quarter. Cam Reddish made his first appearance in the NBA playoffs for the Atlanta Hawks but struggled to find his footing.

On that note, let's look at five reasons why the Atlanta Hawks were blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals:

#1 The Atlanta Hawks failed woefully in protecting the ball

Trae Young (#11) of the Atlanta Hawks drives past Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks
Trae Young (#11) of the Atlanta Hawks drives past Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks

Turnovers were the Atlanta Hawks' undoing, with the Milwaukee Bucks in the mood to punish their opponents. Giannis Antetokounmpo unlocked his quarterback ability and was able to find the open Jrue Holiday deep in the opponent's half after every turnover.

The intensity of the Milwaukee Bucks' defense was commendable. Holiday and PJ Tucker realized how lackluster they were in Game 1 and picked up the pace. They registered 14 steals from an Atlanta Hawks side that lacked concentration. Young was out of sorts and was responsible for nine of the team's 14 turnovers in the game.


#2 The Atlanta Hawks' defense could not match the Milwaukee Bucks' offensive pace

Giannis Antetokounmpo (#34) of the Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo (#34) of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks' offense ran circles around the Atlanta Hawks' defense, with not one Hawks player able to make a stop or make the Bucks uncomfortable. Antetokounmpo made getting to the rim look easy, making several spin moves and uncontested drives through the lane.

The Atlanta Hawks failed collectively to put up any defensive stops in the game. They allowed a lot of uncontested shots on the perimeter and were also punished with transition points. The Milwaukee Bucks scored 27 fast-break points after forcing 14 turnovers.

#3 The Atlanta Hawks' struggles from the 3-point range continued

Fans react after Bogdan Bogdanovic (#13) of the Atlanta Hawks hit a three-point basket.
Fans react after Bogdan Bogdanovic (#13) of the Atlanta Hawks hit a three-point basket.

The Atlanta Hawks have failed to punish the Milwaukee Bucks from beyond the arc despite having open looks. Since Bogdan Bogdanovic had a knock that impaired his mobility, no one else has stepped up to knock down threes for the Hawks.

It was more of the same from the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2, as their shooting percentage from the 3-point range matched that in Game 1 (25%).

The reason 3-point shooting is important for the Hawks is because it is their most lethal weapon if they are to overcome the Milwaukee Bucks and their top-tier rim protectors. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez in the paint, John Collins and Clint Capela could have a difficult time being productive.

Capela's struggles have also hurt the team, as he registered only two points against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2. His size mismatch could be a problem for the Atlanta Hawks, which is why their 3-point shooting needs to improve.


#4 The Atlanta Hawks failed to protect the rim

Clint Capela (#15) of the Atlanta Hawks draws an offensive foul as Joel Embiid (#21) of the Philadelphia 76ers drives into him.
Clint Capela (#15) of the Atlanta Hawks draws an offensive foul as Joel Embiid (#21) of the Philadelphia 76ers drives into him.

Although the Atlanta Hawks do not have elite rim protectors in their roster, their effort defending the rim was tough to watch.

The Milwaukee Bucks have hurt the Hawks in this series, considering the number of points the former have gotten in the paint. In Game 1, the Bucks had 70 points in the paint, while in Game 2, the number was 62.

The Atlanta Hawks did a better job protecting the paint in the second round despite having to defend against one of the best post-up players in the league. If there was a strategy to slow down Joel Embiid in a 7-game series, the same should be used against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are pounding the Hawks in the paint.


#5 The Atlanta Hawks were outclassed by the Milwaukee Bucks on the boards

Brook Lopez (#11) of the Milwaukee Bucks
Brook Lopez (#11) of the Milwaukee Bucks

Rebounding has always been a crucial factor in the NBA playoffs, and the Milwaukee Bucks are well aware of that. The Atlanta Hawks were dominated on both the offensive and defensive glass.

The Bucks grabbed 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in 24 second-chance points. Overall, the Bucks had a total of 47 rebounds in the game, while the Hawks could only muster 34.

Edited by Bhargav

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