Against all odds, we’ve got the 5 seed Atlanta Hawks taking on the 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 East Finals. No Kevin Durant, no Joel Embiid, no Nets and no Sixers. Instead we’ve got a certified Greek Freak going against an ice Trae and some guy named red velvet. This matchup was unexpected to say the least but that’s what makes the NBA the most entertaining league in the world. In one corner, we’ve got the Bucks on a quest to destroy past demons and get to their first finals since 1974. In the other we’ve got the Hawks playing against their old coach and in the midst of a rebuild that started with the drafting of Trae Young in 2018. Let’s take a deeper look at this 2021 East Finals to determine who could come out on top.
- 46-26, 3rd in the Eastern Conference
- Round 1: 4-0 over the 6 seed Miami Heat
- Round 2: 4-3 over the 2 seed Brooklyn Nets
- All-Stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- 41-31, 5th in the Eastern Conference
- Round 1: 4-1 over the 4 seed New York Knicks
- Round 2: 4-3 over the 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers
- All-Stars: N/A (Should have been Trae Young but we were all asleep…especially me)
- January 24, 2021 – Milwaukee won 129-115
- April 15, 2021 – Milwaukee won 120-109
- April 25, 2021 – Atlanta won 111-104
- Overall: Bucks won series 2-1
Regular Season Takeaways
This NBA season has been marred by injuries, COVID protocol and uneven play. The Hawks and Bucks regular season series reflects this fact more than most. We never got to see either of these teams play each other at full strength. This makes it difficult to determine how this 2021 East Finals could play out. Furthermore, each of these teams has gotten better as they’ve progressed through the playoffs. That means there is an air of mystery to this series that gives the 2021 East Finals an additional layer to think about.
As has been the case all season, injuries will play a factor in this series. Luckily, none of the stars are out like in the Western Conference Finals.
- Donte DiVincenzo: Via Basketball Reference: “Out For Season (Foot) – DiVincenzo suffered a tendon injury in his foot and will miss the rest of the playoffs, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic”
- De’Andre Hunter: Via Basketball Reference: Out For Season (Knee) – The Hawks announced De’Andre Hunter will undergo season-ending meniscus surgery.
- Cam Reddish: Via Basketball Reference: Out (Achilles) – Reddish is closing in on a return and starting to do full five-on-five full-court scrimmages, according Kevin Chouinard of the Hawks.com.