The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 123-112 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, and they now sit just one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974. Injury issues were the main story on Thursday night as both the Bucks and Hawks were without their best players. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the game for Milwaukee after suffering a knee injury in Game 4, while Trae Young missed his second straight game for Atlanta with an ankle injury from Game 3.
With both of those stars sidelined for Game 5, it was Milwaukee's supporting cast that was able to step up. Four different Bucks players -- Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis -- scored over 20 points in the contest, and that production was enough to propel Milwaukee to victory. Now facing elimination, the Hawks will look to bounce back in Game 6 at home. If they don't, their season will come to an end Saturday.
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Health projects to be a central story again in Game 6, as it remains to be seen if Antetokounmpo or Young will be available to play. Hopefully both will be good to go. With that said, here's everything you need to know about Game 6 between the Bucks and Hawks.
(3) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks
- Date: Saturday, July 3 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: State Farm Arena -- Atlanta, Georgia
- TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT
- Odds: MIL +105; ATL -125 | O/U: 216 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Bucks: The Bucks have to be happy with the performances they got in Antetokounmpo's absence in Game 5. All of the starters stepped up, and Milwaukee was able to pull out a wire-to-wire win as a result. With both Antetokounmpo and Young out, the Bucks had the next two best players in the series in Holiday and Middleton, and that was evident. throughout the game. Obviously, the Bucks hope to have Antetokounmpo available for Game 6, but if not, they now know that they can take down the Hawks without him, and they know how to do it -- by dominating the paint, where the Bucks outscored the Hawks 66-36 in Game 5. That's the blueprint for them to close out the series moving forward, with or without Antetokounmpo.
Hawks: The good news for the Hawks is that Game 6 will take place in Atlanta, so they'll be able to feed off their home crowd with their season on the line. If they want to extend their season, though, they'll need to do a better job of limiting Milwaukee's paint production than they did in Game 5. It will largely be up to Clint Capela and John Collins to do that. In Game 4, the Hawks outscored the Bucks 46-44 in the paint, and it's not a coincidence that they went on to win that game. Whichever team controls the paint in Game 6 will put themselves in position to pull out a win.
The Hawks have had a great run in the postseason, but it's about to come to an end. With the Bucks just one win away from their first Finals appearance in decades, look for them to come out focused and determined in Game 6. They are the tougher, more physical team, and they used that physicality to their advantage in the fifth game of the series. Look for them to follow the same formula in Game 6. Pick: Bucks +1.5