Following a huge 34-point Game 2 loss against Bucks, Shaquille O’Neal still believes that Hawks could finish off the series in 5 or 6 games.
The Atlanta Hawks have been shocking and surprising every NBA team this year. No one quite expected the Hawks to have such a successful regular season. Despite having no All-Stars selections from their team this campaign, Atlanta finished with an impressive 41-31 record, to place them 5th in the East.
Entering the playoffs, Nate McMillan’s boys were definitely the underdogs. Analysts and former legends had Trae Young and co. winning the first round at the most. But the Hawks have gone on to prove all their doubters wrong. Defeating title contenders Philly in the Conference Semis, only Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks stand in between Atlanta and their first finals appearance in nearly 60 years.
After handing the Bucks a Game 1 loss, Atlanta suffered a huge blowout loss in Game 2. On Friday night, Giannis and his team handed ATL a 125-91. It was a great outing for Milwaukee’s starting five who had an outstanding collective +/- of a whopping 169. An exceptionally well all-around performance by the Bucks has now levelled up the Eastern Conference Finals at 1 apiece.
Shaquille O’Neal still remains confident that the Atlanta Hawks can beat the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 or 6 games
“I say six. The next conversation Nate needs to have with the team coming tomorrow, watch film, and say, ‘Guys, we can beat these guys, we did it. This last game we didn’t play well. We’re at home now, heck, play with confidence because guess what? Opportunities like this do not come around. We’re at home now. Trae take your ball, we can beat these guys if we play like we played in Game 1. Just bring the energy, I say five or six.”
As easy as Shaq is making it sound, Giannis and the Bucks won’t give up so easily. This same Bucks team overcame a star-studded Brooklyn Nets team in their previous series. Defeating the in-form Bucks team won’t be a cakewalk for the Hawks.
With the series now shifting to Atlanta, the Hawks have their fans to cheer them on for the next two games. If we have learnt anything from these two games, it’s that we are in for an interesting 7-game playoffs series. Let’s see how Trae Young and his Atlanta team answer back following such a colossal loss. Game 3 of this ECF series will tip off on Sunday at 8:30 PM ET.