Hawks Vs. Bucks Odds For Game 2 On June 25

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At this stage of the postseason, is it correct to call the Atlanta Hawks’ 116-113 road victory Wednesday night over the Milwaukee Bucks an upset?

The Hawks were indeed 8-point underdogs and +275 on the money line in the Eastern finals opener, according to DraftKings. But it marked the third time since last Wednesday they won despite being a dog of 6.5 points or more. And all on the road. 

Atlanta now is 6-2 away from home this postseason. 

Hawks Looking Good

In fact, with their victory against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, they became the first team since the 1999 Knicks to win the opener of a playoff series in enemy territory three times in one postseason. Included back then was a New York win in Atlanta in the conference semifinals.

But before anticipating the Hawks’ bandwagon will soon hit warp speed, let’s take a closer look at the team that hasn’t won a league title since 1958, when Hall of Famer Bob Pettit, now 88 years old, led the way.

Granted, Atlanta guard Trae Young scored 48 points Wednesday, but they came on a career-high 34 shots. It was eerily similar to what happened 20 years ago in Game 1 of the league finals, when Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson scored 48 in a win in LA against the Lakers. It was a game in which he took 41 shots, a season high. Those 76ers, however, lost the next four games.

This postseason, the Hawks followed up their Game 1 road successes in New York and Philadelphia with their worst performances of the postseason, a 101-92 loss to the host Knicks (their lone defeat in the series) and later a 118-102 beatdown in Philly, which matches their most lopsided loss in the playoffs. 

Young was indeed solid in hitting at a 50 percent clip Wednesday, but in his previous outing, Game 7 against the 76ers, he had his fourth-worst shooting percentage of the season. In the regular season, in the only game he played against the Bucks, he had his second-worst shooting day (3-for-17).

Plus he has been regularly playing 40-plus minutes of late. By contrast, over the final 38 games of the regular season, he never played that much. Could this extra work carrying the team be wearing him down even just a little?

And, finally, for sure Milwaukee’s second-leading scorer, Khris Middleton, who hit 41.4 percent of his 3-point shots during the regular season, won’t have another 0-for-9 night from long range. That was the worst performance of his nine-year career from behind the arc.

Full Hawks Vs. Bucks Sports Betting Odds

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Anyway, here’s what can be expected Friday as the Bucks attempt to even the series.

Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP,  likely will have his way inside again after totaling 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists Wednesday.

But perhaps even of more importance will be the play of guard Jrue Holiday, who’s a defensive wiz much the same way Philly’s Ben Simmons is. Holiday has had success in the past slowing Young and should make that his top priority.

And Milwaukee certainly will make sure Middleton doesn’t shy away from shooting from deep. The Bucks will get him his chances early to restore his confidence.

And, one more thing. Milwaukee had better have a defender shadow Clint Capela when he attempts to position himself for one of Young’s alley-oop floaters. If the 76ers had done that they’d be the ones playing the Bucks.

Forecast: Bucks by 15.

About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, has been a gaming writer (primarily the NFL) for almost four decades, with his work appearing in publications/websites across North America. He's a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia's Eagles and Phillies, and inexplicably the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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