In Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Trae Young had the best Atlanta Hawks playoff performance since Dominique Wilkins was still part of the team. And of course, that was back in the ’80s and ’90s, free history lessons being handed out to younger, modern fans. The team has struggled since and are just two losses away from being bounced early.
A stroke of bad luck saw Trae hurt his ankle in the late stages of the third quarter of Game 3 on Sunday night. He stepped on the foot of a nearby referee, who he did not see. And so, he had to go to the locker room and was clearly not the same player upon his return. As great as he has been, if Trae is less than 100%, this team is absolutely doomed.
The Milwaukee Bucks should be very happy about their situation. Khris Middleton broke out of his funk and had a career night in game 3 to guide Milwaukee to a win. Giannis Antetokounmpo hit some big free throws and was a menace in the paint, finishing for 32 points and also making his 10th three of these playoffs. With these two guys leading the way, Milwaukee is always hard to beat.
The MO for Atlanta is to start strong and keep it going. They blew a good chance on their home court in game 3 and cannot afford to do it again.
The game 4 spread is set at MIL -7, while the over/under is 223.5 points.
Hawks Seek to Even Series
It feels like it is Atlanta against the world right now. Not because nobody is rooting for them. But because it feels like such an uphill battle for a team that has already defied expectations. Though the Los Angeles Clippers were supposed to be where they now sit, it was still a lot to overcome. The ATL situation feels eerily similar.
Trae has been incredible. John Collins and Clint Capela have had some big moments. And, of course, how can Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Huerter be forgotten? This team beat the Philadelphia 76ers, the top seed in the East, without DeAndre Hunter, who helped propel them past a pesky Knicks bunch in round one.
A win will come from a 35 & 10 night from Trae, Collins avoiding foul trouble and baiting Giannis into jump shots.
Bucks Seek Commanding 3-1 Lead
One more win and the Bucks are a single win from the NBA Finals. This is why Giannis chose to stay and why Jrue Holiday agreed to a max extension not too long after being acquired. The chance to do something great. And now, they are so close to making it to the pinnacle of professional basketball.
Winning in the late rounds is never easy. But the Bucks have stuck to their game plan, and the defense has made big plays in all three rounds. Even in his limited run, Brook Lopez has had great moments. Same with Bobby Portis. But of course, PJ Tucker has been the energy guy and the defensive mastermind in guiding them on the court.
Had they not pried him from the Houston Rockets, they would be sitting at home right now. A big night from Giannis and better shooting from Holiday will guide them to a hopeful win.
Bucks Go Up 3-1
The Trae ankle injury, combined with the role players’ struggles in big moments, is the perfect reason to pick Milwaukee. 3-1 lead!
FREE PLAY: MIL -7
OVER/UNDER: OVER 223.5
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