Having advanced to just their second NBA conference finals series in 50 seasons, the Atlanta Hawks have been a joy to watch in the playoffs.
Proving themselves to be a team not to be underestimated, they impressively overcame the fancied Philadelphia 76ers in a pulsating seven game series to make the conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Led by the magnificent Trae Young, who’s been exceptional for them all season and in the playoffs, the Hawks have been a formidable foe. To focus on Young, and the fact he’s averaging 29 points per game and 11 assists pg in the playoffs serves as a testament to what a star he is.
The play of big man John Collins has been valuable too, for he has played a key role both offensively and defensively to make the Hawks an even stronger outfit. Averaging 15 points pg and around 10 rebounds pg, there’s no doubting how crucial his contributions are.
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Kevin Huerter’s influence warrants praise as well, as he’s stepped up in the absence of the injured De’Andre Hunter to stamp his mark. His mammoth effort in game seven against the 76ers underlined his worth, where he notched up a game changing 27 points to help the Hawks triumph.
With the likes of Clint Capela, Lou Williams, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari proving their class as well, the Hawks have emerged as legitimate title challengers.
Possessing a wonderful team spirit, plenty of credit deserves to go to coach Nate McMillan, who’s done a masterful job galvanising this team since taking over earlier in the season. “Everyone wants to sacrifice and everyone wants to be a part of a team like that,” Bogdanovic explained.
“We just don’t give up, honestly. The whole year, we had so many crazy games. We’ve never given up. That’s what I can see on this team. Every single person here is the ultimate competitor, and I think that’s what drives us to that next level. If you have so many competitive guys, you’re going to push each other to play better, even if you think you’re good, you always need to play better. That’s what I see. It’s that competitiveness inside the locker room.”
Unquestionably a tough team to face off against, the Bucks found this out in game one, as the Hawks overcame them to start the series in style. Despite their remarkable run, the bookies only have them as third favourite to be NBA Champions at $7 (behind the Phoenix Suns $1.91 and the Milwaukee Bucks $2.40).
Continuing to prove their doubters wrong, it would take a brave man to write off the Hawks who are firing on all cylinders at just the right time.
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