It was announced an hour or so before the Game 4 tip-off of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks that Trae Young would be unavailable in any capacity to partake in the festivities. Evidently the injury incurred at the tail end of the third quarter the prior game was enough to force the team to make the decision. Because of it, an influx of Bucks money infiltrated the market forcing online sportsbooks to fatten the pointspread up to -9 where it ultimately closed. Those that laid the points beforehand were undoubtedly grinning from ear-to-ear. How would Atlanta compete without their best player? Well, the Hawks not only competed but put forth one of those “circle the wagons” type efforts to do online sportsbooks a major solid by cruising to the 110-88 triumph and even the series. If getting skunked by 22 points wasn’t enough to make the city of Milwaukee collectively cry in their beers, the likelihood of Giannis Antetokounmpo missing the remainder of this series is very high after he went down in a heap late in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury. The injury bug just won’t quit targeting star players this postseason, unfortunately.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 1, 2021 from the Fiserv Forum. The game will be broadcast live on TNT. We'll have NBA playoff odds and player props available at BookMaker.eu for this and every game remaining in the NBA Playoffs.
NBA Betting Lines at BookMaker.eu
Atlanta Hawks +4.5
Milwaukee Bucks -4.5
My how the series has shifted in one fell swoop! Milwaukee couldn’t do anything wrong in Game 3. Giannis and Khris Middleton each put forth memorable playoff performances to propel the Bucks to the 2-1 series lead. Having just seen the Bucks cruise to the win and cover, the betting markets reacted by going all-in on the Bucks in Game 4. Before it was announced Young would miss, Milwaukee was already a 6.5-point favorite. That was 1.5-points higher than what Game 3 closed at. After getting throttled in Game 4 and possibly being without their best player, linemakers opened Game 5 up with the Bucks installed 5.5-point home chalk; a full 3-points fewer than they closed in Game 2. Once again the betting markets have reacted going by what they just saw lowering the impost to -4.5 almost immediately. If you think Milwaukee has a “circle the wagons” effort up their sleeve, you might want to hold off to see just how much lower it goes.
So how do you defeat your opponent in Game 4 of the conference finals on your home floor with the best player on the roster on the bench in street clothes? You get double-digits from six total players and play a frenetic brand of defensive basketball to force 15 turnovers. On top of that, you prevent the Bucks from continuing to eat you alive in the paint. Last game, Milwaukee outscored Atlanta 56-34 near the rim. Before that, they were outscored by 32! On Tuesday night, Atlanta outscored the Bucks 46-44. While much of it had to do with Giannis bowing out early, he still wasn’t able to do much of anything earlier in the game when healthy. It was a complete team effort and Nate McMillan should be applauded for it.
A game removed from converting 15-of-26 shots and leading the Bucks in scoring with 38 points, Middleton would go on to miss all seven of his shots from beyond the arc and turn the ball over four times. His 6-of-17 showing from the field was matched by Jrue Holiday who ended up being the team’s leading scorer with 19 points and nine assists. Bobby Portis also pulled a no-show just after playing a key role in the Bucks comeback win in Game 3. Milwaukee actually cut the Hawks lead down to seven right before Giannis was lost for the remainder of the game. Once that happened, all the air came out of the balloon allowing the shorthanded Hawks to cruise to the dominant and unexpected outright win and cover.
Atlanta vs. Milwaukee Prediction
The loss of ‘The Freak’ is huge. Linemakers already let it be known that he’s worth 3-points to the pointspread after opening the number to beat for Game 5. That might not seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s a ton. With him likely out of the lineup, Milwaukee’s extreme advantage down low becomes nullified with Atlanta possessing bigs like Clint Capela and John Collins to combat whatever Milwaukee Coach Budenholzer draws up. Handling Middleton and company near the rack is a much different chore than dealing with Antetokounmpo. However, I’ve seen this story play out all too many times. The injury bug takes a huge bite out of a team’s star, but that team still goes on to push all the right buttons and break the hearts of the many that faded them. Atlanta just did it to add to the numerous teams forced into that predicament this postseason. Guess what, it’s time for Milwaukee to mimic the feat – lay the chalk!
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