Milwaukee Bucks: Takeaways from stellar Game 6 win over Atlanta Hawks

Jul 3, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 3, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton
Jul 3, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks are officially headed to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974 following a thrilling back-and-forth battle Saturday night.

With the Bucks leading the Atlanta Hawks 3-2 entering Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they had a golden opportunity to wrap this series up on the road. However, they would have to do it without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is still nursing a hyperextended knee he suffered in Game 4.

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Yet, despite that adversity, the Bucks took care of business on the road and delivered a phenomenal performance as they defeated the Hawks 118-107 to finally close out a series in six games for the first time in a long time, advancing to the Finals in the process.

They are set to take on the Phoenix Suns in that matchup, but before diving into what might be waiting ahead there, here are three takeaways from last night’s thrilling Game 6 victory for the Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks get a massive boost from their bench in Game 6 win over Atlanta Hawks

Head coach Mike Budenholzer had not relied too heavily on his bench throughout this series as he shortened the rotation to mostly rely on the players upfront. However, with leading second-unit scorer Bobby Portis starting for the second consecutive game in place of Giannis, the Bucks needed a lift from the other reserves.

They certainly got that, with the main catalyst in this spark being Pat Connaughton. The guard saw the floor for 30 minutes, and he undoubtedly made a big impact with the opportunity by scoring 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc. His scoring was insanely efficient, and the Bucks welcomed those three triples from Connaughton as they had struggled mightily throughout a large portion of this contest to get that outside shot to drop.

While Connaughton’s top-notch scoring effort will garner most of the praise for his performance, his effort elsewhere deserves recognition as well. The high-flyer brought in eight rebounds on the night while also snatching two steals to showcase his hustle that was on display from start to finish throughout his minutes. Connaughton was fantastic and there is no other way to put it.

Surprisingly, another player that stepped up in this game was Jeff Teague. The veteran had been ridiculed by fans for his previous showings in this postseason, with onlookers often displeased to see him hit the floor. However, he stole the show in this pivotal Game 6 by scoring 11 points off the bench, knocking down three triples on three attempts and canning a pair of free throws across nearly 12-and-a-half minutes played. The guard undeniably sent a message by having his best playoff performance yet with the Bucks against his former team in the Hawks.

Both Connaughton and Teague made the most of their minutes played in Game 6, each stepping up and playing their individual roles to perfection.