The Atlanta Hawks are writing one of the best underdog stories in the history of the NBA playoffs with their 2021 postseason run. They beat the East leaders Philadelphia 76ers 4-3, despite going down 2-1 in the Conference semi-finals series.
Trae Young has been absolutely fantastic in his debut NBA playoffs campaign so far, averaging 29.1 points, 9.3 assists and 1.3 steals per contest across 12 games. His ability to deliver clutch performances and give confidence to the Atlanta Hawks in away games has been key to their unexpected yet successful run in the postseason.
The Atlanta Hawks will now face their toughest assignment of the 2021 NBA playoffs when they take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Yet again, they will be heading into the series as underdogs. However, considering the kind of performances the Hawks have been able to put together so far, it would be a mistake to rule them out just yet.
On that note, we list five reasons why the Atlanta Hawks can get off to a great start with a win in Game 1 of the series.
#5 The Atlanta Hawks thrive on the road
The Atlanta Hawks finished the regular season campaign as the fifth-best side in the Eastern Conference. They started their 2021 NBA playoffs on the road because of that and continued to be the team playing without homecourt advantage in both their previous series.
For a fairly young team that had to play in hostile environments like Madison Square Garden and Wells Fargo Center, the Atlanta Hawks seemed to enjoy that as they thrived under the pressure of playing as the away team.
Trae Young, in particular, earned the ‘Villain’ tag in the 2021 NBA playoffs campaign as he terrorized both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in their own backyard. The Hawks have won five of their seven games on the road, with three coming against the Knicks and two against the Sixers.
The Atlanta Hawks will be starting this series away from home as well, and one can expect them not to succumb to the pressure from the Bucks fans at Fiserv Forum.
#4 Bench production
The Atlanta Hawks do not have huge squad depth like the Milwaukee Bucks, but the impact of their bench players and their production rate is something the Hawks do rely on. They have an experienced campaigner like Lou Williams, who helps them pick up the pace offensively with his ability to shoot well, providing them with a much-needed boost.
Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers is a great example of the 3-time Sixth Man of the Year’s prowess off the bench. The Hawks were down 69-87 heading into the fourth, when Williams came off the bench to score 12 points in that quarter, making 63.3% of his shot attempts from the floor. Atlanta ended up winning that tie 109-106, which proved to be a key win for them in terms of the eventual outcome of the series.
Danilo Gallinari is another player who has flourished as the sixth man off the bench. He averaged 14.7 points per game against the Sixers on 46% field goal shooting, including 44% three-point shooting. Having multiple players who can consistently step up on the offensive end apart from their starters has proved to be the key for the Atlanta Hawks.
It will also be crucial for the Hawks when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 as the Bucks do tend to take control early in the match and pull away with huge leads.
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