Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 3-3
Atlanta Hawks (Mike Woodson) 3-3
Time: 12:00 PM (CST)
TV: ABC & FS Wisconsin
Few expected things to get as far as they have (don’t say no one has, because Chris Sheridan picked the Hawks in seven), but here we are. Game seven Sunday on ABC. For a team and a fan base so sensitive to their national perception and a perceived constant lack of respect, it’s funny now that the most important game of the season, and possibly final game, will be broadcast nationally. The stage officially can not get any bigger for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Now they just need to make some shots. Or find a way to get to the basket. Either way, it’s just important that the Bucks bury their despicable game six performance and recall the good times that were games three through five.
In those games the Bucks often had a sense of purpose on offense and a hot hand. When they didn’t, they got to the hoop and lived at the free throw line. For a team that’s struggled as badly as the Bucks have when it comes to getting to the line, the Bucks have led this series in free throw throw attempts most of the way. After a poor performance Friday, the Bucks now trail Atlanta by just four. The same Atlanta team that attempted 239 more free throws than them in the regular season.
So it’s not like the Bucks have been hopeless offensively this series. There is reason for optimism heading into game seven. Just as there is reason for pessimism.
Namely, the Hawks collective game seven experience, overall explosiveness and that thing known as home court advantage. But the Bucks have shined with their backs against the wall this season. Their strongest stretch of the year came not too long after heading out on a west coast trip in which they were destroyed in three of the five losses. This is a team that’s responded to difficult circumstances before and could do it again.
Or they could wilt under the lights brighter than they have seen all year.
With this cast of characters, going through this whole thing for the first time together, it’s difficult to tell what will happen on any given night. Don’t get me wrong, I know they’ll compete hard, but in the playoffs that’s not enough to get it done. There have been few constants in this post season for the Bucks and it’s difficult to get very far having to rely on a different face stepping up every night.
But that’s where Milwaukee stands. Whether they’ll surprise everyone and pull off the unlikely first round upset relies heavily on a return to form from their best two players this series, the mid-season trade acquisition John Salmons and fresh faced rookie Brandon Jennings finding someone else down the bench that can give them a big game.
As usual, not many expect that to happen.