Leading the series 3-2 after Thursday night’s 123-112 win, the Bucks are one win away from making the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. However, coach Mike Budenholzer and his side are unsure if Giannis Antetokounmpo will play after he missed Game 5 with a hyperextended knee. Brook Lopez stepped up big time in Game 5 with 33 points and seven rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks are hoping they can get Trae Young back on the court in time for the do-or-die Game 6. He has missed the last two games with a bone bruise on his right foot but was seen shooting the basketball prior to the game. To stay alive in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Hawks will need Young’s fearlessness and creativity to lead them to victory.
Fixture - Milwaukee Bucks vs Atlanta Hawks | Game 6, 2021 NBA Playoffs
Date & Time - Saturday, July 3rd, 8:30 PM ET (Sunday, July 4th, 6:00 AM IST)
Venue - State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The uncertainty of Antetokounmpo’s status is the biggest concern for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6. However, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton have proven that they can handle business without their superstar teammate.
The Game 5 win showcased how much firepower the Milwaukee Bucks have if they click on all cylinders in the NBA Playoffs. Holiday and Middleton were inspiring, and both seemed to embrace the extra load that was placed on their shoulders.
Moreover, they used their size advantage to the hilt and dominated the paint against the smaller Atlanta Hawks. Don’t be surprised to see the Milwaukee Bucks doing the same on Saturday.
Key Player - Khris Middleton
Heading into Game 5, no one knew what to expect from the on-and-off Khris Middleton, who had struggled in three of the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals.
By the end of the game, the two-time All-Star made his intent clear with a stat line of 26 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block.
Though it may seem like asking too much from the Milwaukee Bucks star, Middleton has no choice but to produce similar numbers until Antetokounmpo returns. We should see the same focus from him in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks.
Milwaukee Bucks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Jrue Holiday l Shooting Guard - Khris Middleton l Small Forward - P.J. Tucker l Power Forward - Bobby Portis l Center - Brook Lopez
Atlanta Hawks Preview
It was a shock to see the usually feisty Atlanta Hawks lack fire at the beginning of a game, but that’s how they looked on Thursday. It was the exact opposite of Game 4 when they came out ferociously despite missing their heart and soul in Trae Young.
If they want a shot at the championship, interim coach Nate McMillan will have to get Bogdan Bogdanovic going early. If Young can’t give it a go, the Hawks will need more than just Bogdanovic to step up.
Lou Williams, who started for the second straight game versus the Milwaukee Bucks, played relatively well in his 35 minutes on the floor in Game 5. However, his production was spotty during certain moments. Though he still recorded 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, his impact on the game could've been more significant.
Key Player - Bogdan Bogdanovic
After struggling for six straight games, dating back to the previous round of the playoffs, Bogdan Bogdanovic found his groove in his last two outings.
In Game 5, the Serbian guard had 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-16 from three-point range.
In order for the Atlanta Hawks to avoid elimination at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in front of their home crowd, Bogdanovic will have to get more touches and be a constant threat on offense. This holds true even if Young is able to play in the next game because of how he opens up the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense when he’s hitting his shots early.
It will be a tougher night in the office if Holiday guards him most of the night, but that’s when he needs his Atlanta Hawks teammates to get open shots for him.
Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Lou Williams l Shooting Guard - Bogdan Bogdanovic l Small Forward - Kevin Huerter l Power Forward - John Collins l Center - Clint Capela
Hawks vs Bucks Match Prediction
Game 6 is one of the hardest games to predict due to the many variables in play. What if the Atlanta Hawks' Young plays and the Milwaukee Bucks' Antetokounmpo doesn’t? What if it’s the reverse? What if both of them miss the game, and what if both play on Saturday?
Many questions are still unanswered for this game, but one thing is for sure: the Atlanta Hawks will be playing in front of a raucous crowd that will be cheering for them, while the Milwaukee Bucks will face their ire. That doesn’t automatically mean the Hawks will win the game, though the home crowd is a huge factor.
Given how resilient the inexperienced Atlanta Hawks have been in the playoffs, they could have at least one more trick in their bag. Unlike the Hawks, the veteran Milwaukee Bucks have been through this before.
This could be a close game, but I see the Milwaukee Bucks closing out the series, with Holiday and Middleton leading them to victory.
Where to watch Hawks vs Bucks
Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be televised nationally in the U.S. by TNT and in India by Star Sports Select. International viewers can watch the game live on NBA League Pass.