Continuing a streak that saw them win the first game of every series on the road, the Atlanta Hawks struck first in the Eastern Conference finals by snagging the opener 116-113. The Hawks have been the surprise story of the playoffs and winning on the road has been their trademark with two away victories in each of the first two rounds.
The Bucks had been perfect at home going 5-0 this postseason before being toppled in Game 1. Atlanta improved to 6-2 SU and ATS on the road this postseason covering the closing 8-point line in the opener. The Bucks are 7-point favorites on the opening line for Game 2.
Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final playoff game takes place on Friday, June 18, 2021 and will air live on ESPN with tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET from State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks Game 2 Odds
Spread: Atlanta Hawks +7.5 | Milwaukee Bucks -7.5 [BET NOW]
Money Line: Atlanta Hawks +282 | Milwaukee Bucks -352 [BET NOW]
Total: 226.5 [BET NOW]
Season to Date
Not expected to be here in the first place the Hawks are playing with house money. And the relaxed attitude has helped them thrive in the playoffs. With Trae Young scoring 48 points the Hawks opened their third straight series with a win.
They beat the Knicks in five games in the first round and won twice in Philadelphia to take that series in seven games. The Hawks are one step closer to making team history. Atlanta hasn’t reached the NBA Finals since moving from St. Louis in 1968. The Hawks improved to 6-2 on the road this postseason with their third straight victory. Overall they are 9-4 SU and ATS this postseason.
After winning two of three regular season games over the Hawks and 11 of the last 13 overall, the Bucks might have been a little overconfident. They realize now they are in for a dog fight. After escaping the Brooklyn series with a Game 7 overtime win on the road, Milwaukee got home court edge when Atlanta upset Philly. And it seemed like a good move since the Bucks hasn’t lost at home going 5-0.
That came streak to an end abruptly in the opener despite 34 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also had 12 rebounds and nine assists. The Bucks averaged over 120 points during the regular season but they’ve yet to reach that number in any of their playoff games. The UNDER is 7-4-1 during the playoffs.
The Hawks have been good at relieving the pressure early in a series by winning the opener in each round. However, they’ve been unable to follow that with a win in Game 2. It would be nice to sweep the first two games of a playoff series on the road but winning once and stealing home court advantage is the next best thing. Young had a big night in the opener coming close to half a hundred. It wasn’t the best shooting night as he went just 4 of 13 from three-point range, but it was enough.
Young also got his teammates involved dishing out 11 assists. John Collins scored 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting while Clint Capela had 12 points and 19 rebounds. Collins added 15 boards helping the Hawks to an edge on the glass while limiting Milwaukee’s second chances. That proved to be significant when Capela had a putback to extend Atlanta’s lead late in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
While Giannis has played like an MVP this postseason, the rest of the team has struggled at times. Antetokounmpo scored 34 points on Tuesday, one game after dropping 40 on Brooklyn in the Game 7 overtime win. Things probably wouldn’t be so stressful if Khris Middleton played like he did during the regular season. Middleton struggled again in Game 1 making just 6 of 23 from the field and missing all nine three-pointers for 15 points.
Jrue Holiday has been spotty with his play and after a rough first quarter he turned things on, possibly leading to better things down the road for the Bucks. Holiday finished with 33 points hitting 14 of 25 shots. The Bucks relied on the three-pointer during the regular season and it’s been missing from the offense. They were just 8 of 36 on Tuesday failing to reach their season average in points in all 12 playoff games.
Hawks vs Bucks Game 2 Predictions
Our picks: Atlanta Hawks +7.5 and OVER 226.5
Advancing to their first Finals in 50 years is going to be more difficult than the Bucks expected. They will need to pick things up offensively and they showed signs in the opener with Antetokounmpo and Holiday having big games. Now they just need Middleton to find his range and they should be OK. I like the Bucks to even things up on Friday, though giving seven points seems like a lot.
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