Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys to victory in pivotal Game 6 with Atlanta Hawks

Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Atlanta Hawks: Clint Capela
Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks are officially one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974.

Currently boasting a 3-2 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks will have a chance to close out the series tonight on the road. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young both nursing their individual injuries, it is currently unknown if either of them will hit the floor for this pivotal Game 6, but Game 5 assured that there could be some fireworks on the floor without either of them present.

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The Bucks handled business on their home floor by winning 123-112 in Thursday’s crucial matchup, and all eyes are fixated on whether or not they can replicate that success and finish this series off on the road to clinch a berth in the NBA Finals.

To achieve this, they will have to stick with several key factors that saw them jump out early and take a commanding lead in Game 5. With that being said, here are three keys to victory in tonight’s Game 6.

The Milwaukee Bucks need Brook Lopez to attack the basket in Game 6 versus Atlanta Hawks

With Giannis sidelined for this matchup, Brook Lopez turned back the clock to a time when he was a forceful scorer in the paint.

Scoring 33 points on 14-of-18 shooting – two of those misses coming from 3-point territory –  the big man paved the way for the Bucks by outright dominating inside. Throwing down several highlight-reel-Esque dunks and hitting a handful of simply incredible shots, the Hawks had no answer to Lopez’s career-high playoff performance. It did not matter if Atlanta threw Clint Capela, Onyeka Okungwu, or John Collins in his direction, Lopez could not be stopped.

With Antetokounmpo likely set to miss this crucial Game 6 due to that hyperextended knee, the Bucks will need another top-notch performance from Lopez. The big man showcased in Game 5 that he could be the ultimate difference-maker with the lane cleared for takeoff, and he will likely find himself under the same circumstances this time around. The Hawks will certainly look to forge a better game plan to limit this assault from Lopez, but he must keep that same aggressive tone heading in to give the Bucks the best chance.

The Bucks have primarily utilized Lopez as a stretch-five when playing alongside Giannis, but after scoring 26 paint points in Game 5 – Six more than he did in the first four games in this series combined – it is clear that he needs to get more looks close to the hoop on the offensive end.