Official Game Thread: Bucks at Hawks -- ECF GAME 6


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Like I said b4 the game if the Hawks haven't learned to rebound they deserve to get their heads beat in

 

GO AHEAD BUCKS AND BEAT THEIR ASSES SINCE THEY DIDN'T LEARN THEIR LESSON

 

Hawks need a good ass whooping so they can remember that pain

Edited by Bonkers
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So...

We score 29 in the 3rd quarter - that's normally pretty good. Most of the game for us.

But, we surrendered 44 - 44!!! to the Giannis-less Bucks?! 

Sigh...

Terrible response by our beloved team in an elimination game at home.

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Just now, TheTruth said:

So...

We score 29 in the 3rd quarter - that's normally pretty good. Most of the game for us.

But, we surrendered 44 - 44!!! to the Giannis-less Bucks?! 

Sigh...

Terrible response by our beloved team in an elimination game at home.

I think fatigue and injury has finally caught up to them. 

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2 minutes ago, GameTime said:

How ironic that Jeff TEA puts the nail in our coffin.

The guy was half asleep most fourth quarters when he played for us. Am surprised at this by him so far tonight.

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      A similar theme seems to be taking hold with Milwaukee. Fifth on the team in regular season minutes played, Donte DiVincenzo’s absence due to his season-ending ankle injury has been a struggle for Coach Bud to compensate.
      Pat Connaughton, Bryn Forbes and veteran Jeff Teague (combined 1-for-7 Game 1 3FGs) struggled mightily to hang with Young, and the disparity widens when their offensive contributions are muted. Given Milwaukee’s limited in-season development, slim depth and short rotations, Budenholzer can’t turn to rookie Elijah Bryant or two-way guard Axel Toupane to step up on Donte’s behalf. Acquired for Torrey Craig from Phoenix at the trade deadline, Cash Considerations isn’t of much use, either.
      That leaves Khris Middleton, also a dud in Game 1 (0-for-9 3FGs) to live up to his All-Star and Olympic-level expectations, and for Giannis to occasionally assist in meeting Young and Atlanta ballhandlers off the screens. To throw Milwaukee defenders further off-kilter, Young’s teammates (8 combined Game 1 assists; 8.7 APG vs. PHI; 10.8 vs. NYK) should be mindful that they can also pass the ball amongst each other, especially around the horn when Young draws the defense inward, and that not every receipt from Trae is definitively the best shot during a possession.
      After a few well-drawn plays go right, and when the lead is working in their favor, Milwaukee might risk making the same fatal mistake conducted by recent Hawks opponents, of playing laissez-faire basketball, waiting for the visitors to fold and bow themselves out of the series. If they veer off-course from the gameplan and take too many unsound risks again, the Bucks will find themselves once more caught like a bunch of Bangos, staring catatonically into the hypnotizing, shimmering headlights of Trae Young. Poor Harry can hardly bear to watch the aftermath.
       
      Let’s Go Hawks!
      ~lw3
    • By lethalweapon3
      “I’m just asking Bob: how does a so-called rookie grow so much hair on his chest? Is it the beer?”
       
      There are quite a few Milwaukeeans looking forward to giving your Atlanta Hawks the business. About 90 percent of those folks are above the age of 75.
      Children, teenagers, and young adult sports fans were eager for something fresh in postwar America’s Dairyland. After winning the NFL Championship in 1944, their pigskin heroes, up the road in Green Bay, had fallen on rocky times. Single-wing fanatic Curly Lambeau had an ugly divorce with the Packers and eased on down the road to coach the reviled Chicago Cardinals.
      Basketball, and not necessarily good basketball, meant the Badgers over in the state capitol of Madison, back in the day when you couldn’t sneak Victrola-sized recorders into locker rooms. Carnival barker Bill Veeck kept the Brewers interesting, but, with all due respect to our modern-day Stripers, there’s only so much AAA minor league baseball you can watch.
      Having grown by over well over 20 percent in each decade up to 1930, the boomtown years in Milwaukee seemed to be drawing to a close by the time the 1950s arrived. Losing luster and populations to Midwestern rivals in Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis, the city’s boosters were eager to get civic projects cooking. It was essential to showcase Milwaukee as a bonafide major-league city.
      Up would go the first American ballpark financed with public funds, Milwaukee County Stadium. As the stadium was being erected, in hopes of drawing a Major League Baseball team to town, the ribbon was cut for Milwaukee Arena. The latter was regarded as the first new sports venue engineered explicitly to accommodate the brave, new world of broadcast television.
      That was more than enough to woo Ben Kerner and his NBA franchise out of its dusty fieldhouse in Moline, Illinois. With just a slight tweak of Kerner’s team’s name, the Milwaukee Hawks became the big, full-time pro team in town, tipping off in the spacious, 11,000-seat, taxpayer-paid Milwaukee Arena seventy years ago this November.
      Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns, second fiddle to the beer-company Cardinals in MLB, and his attempt to bring the Browns to beer-town Milwaukee was blocked by American League owners, setting up the Browns to become birds of a whole different feather. Tired of losing fans to Ted Williams and the Red Sox, Construction magnate Lou Perini leaped at Veeck’s misfortune. His National League outfit, the Braves, arrived from Boston in 1953 to ensure the fancy new outdoor stadium wouldn’t sit empty in the summertime.
      Treated much like Pabst “cheese product,” being a Hawks fan in the early 1950s was about enduring The Process. That is to say, the team sucked royally. 17-49 in their maiden season as the Milwaukee Hawks in 1951-52, 27-44 in 1952-53, 21-51 in 1953-54. Last-place in the Western Division, every year. It didn’t help that the rival Lakers, of nearby Minneapolis, were not merely the envy of the NBA West but the whole league, pulling off an unprecedented three-peat in those years.
      But just as The Land of 1,000 Lakes would always have their Lakers, Wisconsinites knew they would always have their Hawks. Mel Hutchins entered the league as a top-2 draft pick and was a rebounding machine for Milwaukee. The team traded 1952’s top pick to Philadelphia, and they wound up with an All-Star returning from military duties in Don Sunderlage. Despite the losing, local fans were catching on to the grand plan.
      “What’s the Secret?”, asked envious owners of the turnstile-struggling Knicks and Celtics, of Kerner’s ability to pack crowds in Milwaukee’s swanky new arena to watch a bottom-feeder team on the move. Crowds dwindled again, though, commensurate with the Hawks’ dovetailing record. But then, with the drafting of natural scorer Bob Pettit in 1954, the LSU star averaged over 20 points and 13 boards per game out of the box. With so many emerging stars in place, fans surely thought, the future of NBA basketball in Milwaukee was brightening.
      Until that future was no more.  It turned out this bottom-feeder Hawks team was on the move. Out of town. Already. Four years after moving in.
      St. Louis was quite clear to Kerner, they weren’t building him and his cagers a new arena. But the Hawks owner, who never really filled out the one in Milwaukee, figured the Missouri hotbed along the powerful Mississippi River had more going for it than the slower-growing burg off Lake Michigan’s western shore.
      Eero Saarinen’s Arch was a long way from being finished, but the city of St. Louis was not only seen by Kerner as a larger market, but the geographic center of the nation, and a shining gateway to the rising American West. The NBA owner was more than happy to move out of a state-of-the-art Milwaukee venue and shoehorn his squad into an aging Kiel Auditorium.
      Bear in mind, at this time, that Rochester, New York was in the NBA’s Western Division. In an age before air travel, to far-flung places like California, could be viewed as part of a sustainable sports budget, Missouri was about as far west as major sports leagues were willing to stretch.
      The sense permeated that if Milwaukeeans wanted to watch professional sports, hey, Chicago’s a short drive away. For pro hoops? Fort Wayne, and Minneapolis, make for pleasant road trips. Shoot, they’ve always trekked up Lake Michigan to watch football in chilly Green Bay.
      The local resentment was high among the young fans who were just beginning to invest their time and energies into Milwaukee Hawks Basketball. “You know what?”, they thought. “Screw the Hawks. We’ll always have our Braves!”
      The extra-unkind twist of the knife came when the Hawks pulled a Calgary Flames on Milwaukee fans. Just two seasons into their St. Louis tenure, Kerner’s Hawks finished with another losing record, but won a series of tiebreaker games with the hated Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons for first place in a weakened NBA West Division. They swept Minneapolis to reach The Finals in 1957. Kerner got Beverley'd in the schnoz by Red Auerbach amid a heated dispute over the basket height, but the Hawks, behind Pettit, went nose-to-nose with the favored Celtics through seven games.
      Hawks Fever would reach its fever pitch the very next season, when Pettit’s 50-burger sealed the deal and brought Kerner his first NBA Championship. But wait. This was not supposed to be St. Louis’ team to celebrate! That town never suffered through the lean years with the Hawks!
      No matter, thought Milwaukee, because just a few months before, their new, darling Braves just beat the mighty New York Yankees, already giving this town its first World Series title. The Hawks arrived first, but the Braves were smoking hot from the time the once-dormant club arrived from Boston. They finished no worse than third in the NL with over 85 wins every season before breaking through in 1957, with the great Warren Spahn and reliever Ernie Johnson Recently Senior pitching, plus Eddie Mathews and an amazing kid named Henry Aaron knocking it out the park.
      They almost caught the D@mn Yankees napping again in the World Series, after winning the NL pennant in 1958. By the close of the 1950s, Milwaukee was, officially, a tried-and-true world-class baseball town. Basketball what? Basketball who? This here is Braves Country, pal. Forever and ever, Amen.
      From the time of the Hawks’ departure from Milwaukee, it would take 13 more years before the NBA would come back to the basketball arena that would later be known as the MECCA. In that time, the beloved Braves would be wooed out of town, in 1965, to the promise of an expanded media market in the Deep South. An increasingly barren pro-sports town was going to take anything it could nail down by that time. Bucks Country, you say? Fine. They’ll help pass the time. That is, whenever Vince Lombardi isn’t coaching on Sundays.
      Just months after receiving their expansion franchise announcement, in 1968, Milwaukee was humored to find out St. Louis had lost the basketball team they poached, the Hawks, to Georgia, too. Fans endured a predictably terrible inaugural season by the Bucks. But it concluded with a nice win, of sorts.
      The Bucks and their expansion cousins, the Suns, wound up in a coin flip for the top pick. Milwaukee won, and the prize was UCLA’s Lew Alcindor. To this very month, Phoenix would never win an NBA Championship. As for Milwaukee? Well, give them just a few minutes.
      An NBA-record 29-game improvement came the next season, and by 1971, with Oscar Robertson in tow, Milwaukee posted a first-ever 20-game winning streak and paraded their first NBA Championship. There was regarded as the fastest run from expansion team to title in American sports, in the days before anyone had heard of Atlanta United, or soccer for that matter. Bud Selig had just brought MLB baseball back by snatching the Pilots from Seattle under the cover of night. But by this time, Milwaukee was Bucks Country. A re-enlivened basketball town, unlike stuffy old Chicago.
      There is little visible record of the first three times the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks faced off in the NBA Playoffs, the five-game sets of 1980s-era series that Glenn Rivers and Dominique Wilkins won once, and Sidney Moncrief and Paul Mokeski won twice. There is also little record of the only seven-game series between these clubs, in 2010, because I watched them all and made it by personal mission to burn all the tape.
      But there has never been a bigger Hawks-Bucks series than the one that is set to unfold tonight, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals (8:30 PM, TNT, 92.9 FM in ATL, Postgame coverage on Bally Sports Southeast).
      A former Milwaukee franchise that won it all once, in another town in 1958, and never made it back to the NBA Finals again. A current Milwaukee franchise that was gifted a young legend, hung onto to him long enough to win it all in 1971, returned to come up short in 1974, had the renamed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar demanding a trade (as reported at the time by a young sportscaster named Marv Albert) to a big city in 1975, was forced to hoof it to the Eastern Conference in 1980, and never made it back to the NBA Finals again. Only one can advance for a shot at ending their championship droughts.
      If that is not enough drama for you, Jeff Teague is out here starving, sisters and brothers.
      The last time your Hawks were in these Conference Finals, a half-dozen years ago, Teague averaged over 21 PPG and 4 APG for Atlanta. But his teammates were like deer-in-headlights against Matthew Dellavedova and the LeBronnaires of Cleveland.
      Now, the 2015 All-Star has reunited with in Milwaukee with his old Hawks coach, Mike Budenholzer, after getting traded by Boston and mercifully waived by Orlando. If all goes well, Jeff will hardly have to lift a finger. The newly 33-year-old Teague gets to kick back and watch a 2013 All-Star, who’s two years his junior, go to work on the 2019 All-Star point guard who is now the toast of Atlanta.
      It’s Jrue Holiday’s first playoff run since 2018 with the Pelicans, and the first two rounds have been less than stellar (39.8/24.6/69.6 FG/3FG/FT shooting splits) for him as a scorer. But as a release-valve (7.5 APG, 2.2 TOs/game in playoffs) for the hulking Giannis Antetokounmpo, and as a hounding defender on and off the ball, one could settle for a lot worse to try to impede Trae Young.
      The Bucks don’t have a lot of head-to-head game tape on Young to work with from the regular season. Back spasms caused him to sit out of Milwaukee’s home win back in January, along with Clint Capela. Returning after missing two April games with a bruised calf, Young struggled to get going as The Fighting MLKs, absent John Collins and Danilo Gallinari and others, fell for the first time in Atlanta. The Hawks would make amends with a home win a week-and-a-half later, but Trae’s sprained ankle had him cheering from the sidelines.
      Since then, Budenholzer’s trusty assistants have had plenty of other opponents’ playoff tapes to pore through. Young has soldiered through his first postseason while nursing a sore shoulder on his shooting arm. Regardless of whether he or his teammates are struggling from the field, they have done more than enough, through ball movement, rebounding and defense, to outlast and sacrifice two of the NBA’s blessed, highly favored, sacred cows.
      Holiday will latch onto Trae, so long as he’s not needed to curtail other Atlanta shooters. If the situation changes, and if Young can swerve around the likes of Khris Middleton to serve up copious assists, this series won’t feel like much of a holiday for Milwaukee. Jrue is an All-Defensive First Teamer, but so was the wayward gentleman from Down Under who, with help from Trae and the Hawks, turned America’s sports programming into “B.S.”PN for the past two weeks.
      The Bucks lack the array of backcourt defensive assignments that Young faced when the Philadelphia series began. It’s in part due to Coach Bud’s short rotations (sorry, Jeff), and to an untimely injury. Because of an ankle ligament tear suffered in the Bucks’ opening round, Donte DiVincenzo won’t be able to participate in the proceedings with the Hawks. It must be noted that DiVincenzo is here with the Bucks, rather than Sacramento, because Bogdan Bogdanovic is not.
      Jon Horst and the Milwaukee front office jumped the gun in trying to secure another sweet-shooting guard before this season, perhaps to replace the soon-to-retire Kyle Korver. When talks with the Kangz fell through in November, Bogi entered restricted free agency, and he has since aided the Hawks’ rise to playoff prominence in the back half of this season. Meanwhile, the Bucks’ efforts to contact either him or his agent, prematurely, will dock them a second-round pick next year.
      How much more Milwaukee will have to pay, in the near term, for failing to reel in Bogdanovic will depend on the health of his knee, and his ability to improve on a disappointing postseason to date. Still Atlanta’s third-leading scorer at 13.8 PPG, Bogi has shot just 30.4 percent on threes in his first NBA postseason (28.0 3FG% vs. PHI).
      His ability to defend along the wing, while diminished, would be sorely missed if he cannot go for long stretches of this series, as the Hawks strive to keep Middleton, Bryn Forbes (40.0 Playoffs 3FG%) and Holiday in check. But there’s at least one Hawk who can, and occasionally has, stepped into the limelight and can help supplement, if not supplant, Bogi’s fullcourt production.
      Kevin Huerter is in Atlanta, likely, because DiVincenzo is not. Milwaukee took the 2018 Final Four Most Outstanding Player in the fateful NBA Draft, two picks before Atlanta selected the relatively unheralded Huerter. The heralds have been coming, however, for “K’Von” following his breakout performance in the decisive Game 7 victory over Philadelphia, serving as perhaps Atlanta’s most clutch performer throughout that uncanny contest. Huerter doesn’t need a reason, at this stage, to make the Bucks pay for passing him up. But should he seek out a reason, there you go.
      There was a time, just a few years ago, that Milwaukee really needed the services of Tony Snell. Middleton’s injured hamstring cost him over half of the 2016-17 season, pressing Snell into starting duties in his first season as a Buck. His efficiency as a shooter shined that season, and in the playoffs, and Horst’s first move as the new GM was to hand Snell a 4-year, $44 million deal to keep him around.
      That contract would be largely panned as among the worst in franchise history, on a club that has penned some real doozies in the past decade alone (Miles Plumlee, what up?). That contract also expires this season, and while Atlanta hasn’t really needed Snell to this point, back in March when they did, his jumpshot served as the match that ignited the Hawks’ improbable turnaround. The mini-dimensional but efficient-shooting Snell would relish some chances to show Milwaukee, and perhaps some suitors this summer, why he is known, today, as Mister 50/50/100.
      The year before DiVincenzo was picked, the Bucks had an array of power forwards to choose from at Draft time. Awash in Big Ten land, John Hammond and the Bucks’ brass went after Michigan standout D.J. Wilson, leaving T.J. Leaf for the rival Pacers. Down in ACC country, the Hawks were again two picks behind Milwaukee, and elected to go for John Collins. It’s looking like things worked out, in Atlanta’s case.
      Try to imagine, when Mike Budenholzer bolted from the ATL for Milwaukee in 2018, that he might have inherited not only one of the most impregnable forces in pro sports, an imperfect hoopster yet a two-time MVP before age 26, but another talented if imperfect tag partner in Collins (15.1 PPG and 10.0 RPG vs. PHI, on downright Snellian 54.7/38.9/85.0 shooting splits), who has now held his own at playoff time against the likes of Julius Randle and Tobias Harris. A Gianny-Johnny pairing could have been mighty useful when the top-seeded Bucks faced a 5-seed, Bam Adebayo’s Miami, in the second round of 2020’s playoffs.
      Instead of putting Collins to work during the course of his rookie deal at playoff time, in Milwaukee, Coach Bud had to put up with the dwindling utility of Wilson, who was DNP’d the entire postseason. Like Rakim, the Baptist this summer is about to be paid-in-full. But if he needs a reason to stick it to his rookie-year coach who abandoned him for supposedly greener pastures, jumping to a team that passed him up for Wilson, well…
      Wilson was supposed to be in Horst’s ill-fated package, last autumn, to Sacramento for Bogdanovic. Instead, he and another D.J., Mr. Augustin, brought a P.J. into town at this year’s trade deadline, along with the lightly-used Rodions Kurucs.
      Capela’s longtime teammate in the frontcourt, the 36-year-old P.J. Tucker (like Nate McMillan, the pride of Raleigh’s Enloe High School) exists primarily to be a thorn in the side of anyone he is assigned to guard. Daryl Morey’s team in 2020, as you’ll recall, ditched Capela to a rebuilding Atlanta team, because they thought the 6-foot-5 Tucker could adequately hold his own sliding over to Clint’s center spot on a title contender.
      Capela has already made Morey, now In Philly, pay for that miscalculation. While Clint won’t be able to see Mike D’Antoni anytime soon, over the next week or so, he can serve up some helpful reminders of what his former Houston bosses missed in the Bubble. Fortunately for Tucker, who took over for Pat Connaughton in the starting lineup for the Brooklyn series, he won’t have to worry much about going head-to-head with Clint.
      Getting passed up by Milwaukee in the Draft has often been a badge of honor. In Danilo Gallinari’s draft class of 2008, two picks after the Knicks’ selection, the Bucks went after Joe Alexander. The next big man taken two picks later, the New Jersey Nets’ Brook Lopez, has turned out quite alright. The man who wanted to retire with just one team, the star-studded club that now resides in Brooklyn, served a cold dish to them last weekend, putting his remodeled stretch-five game to good use under Coach Bud’s tutelage.
      Lopez and Antetokounmpo will strive to draw Capela out of the paint. But a Hawks defense that has held playoff foes thus far to an NBA-low 48.3 2FG% will be able to deploy any of Collins, Onyeka Okongwu or Gallinari to meet the Bucks bigs away from the rim, contesting mid-range shots and threes while permitting Clint to be in good position to protect the rim and secure defensive rebounds. Having endured the tricks of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid in recent rounds, and as familiar as anyone with the antics of Tucker, Capela is ideally suited for this matchup with the Bucks’ frontcourt.
      Do you Hawks fans need some more red meat? How’s our old friend, Larry Donnell Drew, Sr., holding together this morning? You know, that “other” departing head coach that pulled the rug out from under Atlanta’s best-laid plans. Drew’s advice to his new employer forced the Hawks to come away with Dennis Schröder, in a familiar theme, two picks after our internally well-scouted international kid of mystery, Giannis, was snatched up by Milwaukee in 2013.
      Rewarded only with the chance to coach up Antetokounmpo’s 15-win rookie year, Drew is now an assistant for the Clippers. Yes, the crew coached by former Hawk (and Buck) Ty Lue, who was handed the steamroller keys just in time for LeBron ahead of 2015’s playoff run through what was left of Atlanta. Let’s say L.A., now down 2-0 after last night’s absurd finish in Phoenix, finagles a way past the Suns out West. What Hawks fan wouldn’t want (figurative!) swings at that pinata? Still, considering how his Milwaukee tenure ended, I can’t imagine which team LD is rooting for to come out of the East.
      The playoff campaign Atlanta has waged to date has been as much about the tried-by-fire steely maturation of coach McMillan’s Hawks as it has been about the myth-busting of certain opponents. Myth: Everyone get out of the way, because Julius Randle’s time is now. Myth: Ben Simmons doesn’t need to work on his shortcomings, or his attitude, to lead a team to championship glory.
      Myth: if you need a coach to get you beyond regular season merits and into The Finals, don’t waste time with old-hat options like McMillan. You need a coach for the modern age, one with a Spurs pedigree, one like Budenholzer, to get you to the top of the NBA pyramid.
      That last myth may prove true, for Phoenix. But in Milwaukee, absent a sound thumping of the Hawks and an advance into the championship round, the myth of Bud’s superiority as a whiteboard wizard has already teetered perilously close to busting in the past month. That pinata might only need four more whacks, and in a poetic twist, his former team holds the stick.
      The fans in and around Milwaukee’s newest arena are far more cool-headed than anybody Trae and the Hawks players have tolerated over the past month-plus along the Eastern seaboard. It’s all about that Midwestern Nice mentality, you know. Yet, like one St. Louis beverage company’s frosty beverage tagline used to say, don’t let the smooth taste fool you.
      To say little of one recent league MVP who has become not much more than a singles hitter as his team loses ground to the Cubs, and a reigning league MVP causing heartburn around the clock for his team, these are supremely anxious times for Wisconsin sports fans. They’re subsided only by the fact that Giannis chose not to dip his toe into the 2021 free agent waters, thereby ensuring the Bucks will get multiple cracks at title contention over the next few years, so long as he doesn’t pull a Kareem. But in the minds of many a fan, longtime vets along the Bucks’ roster, and Coach Bud himself, this crack might be the last, best one they’ll get.
      Wisconsin’s current pro basketball team, collected to avenge the ouster by a five-seed from the South that featured a narrative-busting breakout NBA star in 2020, finds itself in a familiar position this season. For a few local Bucks fans that are longer in the tooth, the city that took two of the teams Milwaukee once beloved, and the name of the team that stands in the way of a shot at its first title in 50 years, ring a bit too loud of a bell.
      By the end of either of the next couple of games, if a cane winds up tossed onto the Fiserv Forum floor, you’ll understand why.
       
      Thank you, Donorsquawkers! Let’s Go Hawks!
      ~lw3