The Atlanta Hawks may have lost by 11 to Milwaukee last night, but it was Charles Barkley who truly laid them to rest.
Atlanta did its best to defend home court against a Bucks team bolstered by the return of Giannis Antetokounmpo. They used him only for 25 minutes, but he was their only starter with a positive +/- of +2.
The Bucks’ bench came in handy against Atlanta, who’re still without Danilo Gallinari, Cam Reddish and Deandre Hunter. Trae had a TERRIBLE game, going for just 3-of-17 from the field for 15 points.
In fact, if Trae had had even a normal game with splits of 7-of-17, this game would be much closer. Bogdan Bogdanovic led all scorers on the night with 28 points.
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley discuss how Atlanta need LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Understandably, the discussion after the game revolved around the Hawks’ shortcomings. Shaquille O’Neal suggested the Hawks were just a player or two away from being a legitimate title contender:
“Yeah, LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis,” Barkley said as he laughed characteristically
Charles Barkley Has Blunt Message For 1 NBA Team https://t.co/erSBSQluAT
— MSN Sports (@MSNSports) April 16, 2021
Shaquille O’Neal was a bit late in joining in the laughter than he usually is. But he did make the frame with an amused face quickly enough.
Acquiring LeBron James and AD would undoubtedly take the Hawks to the doorstep of the Finals. It is obviously also not the solution that they were consulting Chuck for (or anyone, for that matter).
Having said that, they look primed to snag a top-4 berth in the East. The Hawks, Celtics and Heat will be aiming to lock up the last 3 of the East’s top-6. Avoiding the play-in tournament will yield these teams an extra week of rest ahead of the playoffs.