Charles Barkley ain’t the type of dude you agree with 100 percent of the time. Frankly, if you do agree with anyone all the time, you’re probably a weirdo.
But Barkley makes a valid point calling out the Milwaukee Bucks for their lack of a killer instinct, which he did again earlier this week. Tonight, they have to flip that, whether or not Trae Young is out there, because it’s already doubtful that Giannis Antetokoumnpo will be.
And, really, that killer instinct was there in Game 5, so we’re essentially talking about Milwaukee doing that again, but this time on the Atlanta Hawks’ home floor. In Game 5, the Bucks led a wire-to-wire effort, led by the dominance of Brook Lopez, the shot creation of Khris Middleton, the playmaking of Jrue Holiday, and the uprising of Bobby Portis.
Young missed Games 4 and 5 after suffering a bone bruise on his foot in Game 3. Anteokoumnpo hyperextended his knee in the Bucks’ Game 4 loss and hasn’t played since, but hopes to return for Game 7 if needed.
If the Bucks do what they’re supposed to do, Giannis won’t be needed until the NBA Finals.
Let’s look at those Game 5 plays that really established the tone for Milwaukee, using the highlights posted from the official NBA YouTube.
And then there were the many, many dunks Lopez had after, including several on Collins. But in the first quarter, the tone was set from these plays highlighting the Bucks aggression and ferocity coming out of the gate. They even led 32-12 late in the first, and it felt like everything else they did in the victory fed off of their early lead. If you have money on the Bucks, or are a fan, you should hope they replicate a similar start in Atlanta, even if Young is there. It takes the crowd out of the game early and might force the younger Hawks into simply trying to do too much, which would play into the literal hands of the Bucks’ defense — and gain them the Finals appearance they’ve let slip away so many times in recent years.
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