If you choose not to watch Game 5 of the Hawks-Bucks Eastern Conference Finals, it would be understandable. But it is important to know that the game will still be worth seeing. Giannis Antetokounmpo is now out for the Milwaukee Bucks, and that’s a major loss. Trae Young did not play in Game 4, and yet his team still got a win. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but the injuries have dulled it all down.
Nothing is as exciting as it once was due to the fact that all the stars keep going down. The Los Angeles Clippers bowed out to the Phoenix Suns, with Kawhi Leonard missing the entire series. The Brooklyn Nets got knocked out by the Bucks with Kyrie on the shelf. The Philadelphia 76ers lost Danny Green and had Joel Embiid playing on a bad meniscus. It has been rough on everybody.
But the Atlanta Hawks keep persisting. Even when Giannis was playing, the team worked a 13-point lead by halftime. Lou Williams stepped into the starting lineup and made it happen. It is obvious how effective he can be, and he stepped up significantly for Game 4. Most folks expected a Bucks blowout, but that seems highly illogical with their best player probably done.
Game 5 is going to be oh so unpredictable, but somebody has to win. And one of these banged-up squads gets a crack at Phoenix.
Giannis being out changes nothing in the odds books. MIL -2 is the spread, and the over/under is set at 215.5 points.
Hawks Seek Major Win
If Atlanta pulls this out, they are one win from the NBA Finals. Not only would it mark consecutive years that the #5 seed makes the finals, but it would also be back-to-back times where that team beat the Bucks en route to the last round of the NBA playoffs. And it would be a second straight season likely finishing prematurely due to a Giannis injury.
Atlanta winning a game without Trae is incredible. Yes, the home court is nice. But to put a performance like that together with it all on the brink is just so incredible. A lot of credit needs to be given to those guys. They play hard and work to make things go smoothly.
If Trae is out, Lou Williams logging 35 minutes and scoring 25 will be the main key. If Trae plays, it’s just outlasting the opponent and making life on Khris Middleton hard.
Can Bucks Dig Out of New Slump?
Only one Antetokounmpo is now healthy, and it is not the one who will be playing 40 minutes. Thanasis is a fan favorite for obvious reasons, but he will not play much. The team will need Pat Connaughton to step up and become a star. Can he get them 20+, or is that too much to ask?
He and Middleton have to be great. Brook Lopez now has to play more. PJ Tucker needs to find his shot, and Bobby Portis has to dominate his minutes. Since the Game 2 blowout, Milwaukee has not looked so good. With Giannis not in, life gets complicated.
They are lucky that the knee injury to their star wasn’t too serious. But it could still spell the end of his season. They need to win the three-point game and keep John Collins from making momentum-altering plays.
Giannis being out is too much to overcome. ATL wins.
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