Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP
The Atlanta Hawks have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after a seven game series with the Philadelphia 76ers. Atlanta finished off the series with a 103-96 victory in hostile territory.
Kevin Huerter propelled the Hawks to the win putting up a playoff career-high 27 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Huerter’s performance was crucial as Trae Young struggled to find his shot; finishing 5 of 23 from the field and 2 of 11 from beyond the arc. Atlanta’s other star, Bogdan Bogdanovic was hindered throughout the game dealing with a right knee injury he suffered in game 6.
Atlanta will be facing the Milwaukee Bucks next series and are hoping Bogdanovic will be healthy enough to suit up in game 1 on Wednesday. The Hawks are also waiting for their young wing Cam Reddish to return back to action, he was recently fully cleared by Atlanta’s medical staff. Reddish is on track to return sometime during the conference finals.
Nate McMillan has played a big role for the Hawks this season. Atlanta was 14-20 when McMillan took over. It seems like a coaching change was what the team needed, going 27-11 under the interim head coach. McMillan has got the team to gel and got more players involved in Atlanta’s offense. Bogdanovic was one of the catalyst who emerged after the coaching change. Before the All-star break Bogdanovic averaged 9.4 points, since the All-star break he has seen that average double, averaging 18.7 since the break.
This is the Hawks first conference finals appearance in 6 years. Hawks are looking for a better showing than in 2015 when they got swept by the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In order to do this Atlanta will need to devise a plan to slow down the former two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
This will be the second year in a row where a 5 seed appears in the Eastern Conference Finals. Last year the 5 seeded Miami Heat made it to the Finals before losing to the Lakers. Game 1 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals will tipoff June 23 at 8:30 PM ET.