NBA playoffs 2021: Short-handed Bucks knock out Hawks in Game 6 to reach Finals

By Sports Desk July 03, 2021

Fifty years after winning their first and only NBA title, the Milwaukee Bucks will play for the crown again. 

With their injured star Giannis Antetokounmpo watching from the sidelines, the Bucks held on for a 118-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to claim their Eastern Conference Finals series 4-2. 

The Bucks move on to face the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. 

After leading by four at the half, Milwaukee blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Atlanta 44-29.

Khris Middleton had 23 points in the quarter after scoring just five in the first half. He would finish with 32 points and seven assists. 

The Bucks knew they would need Middleton and Jrue Holiday (27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) to carry the load as Antetokounmpo missed a second straight game after hyperextending his left knee in Game 4. 

The Hawks got their star Trae Young back after he sat out the previous two games with a bone bruise in his foot, but he was nowhere near his usual self. 

Young entered the game averaging 29.8 points in the playoffs but managed only 14 on Saturday on four-of-17 shooting from the field, missing all six of his three-point attempts.

Cam Reddish emerged as the offensive star for the Hawks, coming off the bench to score 21 points on six-of-seven from three-point range and help Atlanta claw back into the game after trailing by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter. 

The Hawks got the margin down to six with less than four minutes remaining but ran out of gas in the end. The defeat represents yet another playoff disappointment for Atlanta sports teams. 

The Hawks' lone NBA title came in 1958, when they were still based in St Louis, while the NFL's Falcons have never won it all and MLB's Braves have just one World Series title, in 1995. 

Only MLS newcomers Atlanta United have cracked the code in the last quarter century with their 2018 crown. 

While the Hawks are left to wait for next year, Milwaukee are eyeing their first championship since 1971 in their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974.

Related items

  • French Open: Swiatek eases past Riske to extend stunning winning run French Open: Swiatek eases past Riske to extend stunning winning run

    Iga Swiatek again showed relentless form to ease past Alison Riske and book her place in the third round of the French Open on Thursday.

    The number one seed stormed to a 6-0 6-2 victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and will now face Danka Kovinic – the latest woman to attempt to halt the WTA Tour's winning machine.

    Chasing her 30th straight win, there was an ominous start from Swiatek, who sealed the first set in just 20 minutes as Riske won just seven points.

    Swiatek was ruthless as she sped through the games, winning all three break points against Riske to get halfway to victory in double quick time.

    The American tried to fight back at the start of the second, but Swiatek seemed to move up a gear every time her opponent was able to win a point, breaking again in the second game.

    Riske reached deuce in the next game, before finally holding serve to get herself on the board to a big cheer from the crowd.

    The world number 43 showed more fight as she held serve again, but Swiatek's power and shot placement was ultimately too much as she motored to victory.

    The 2020 champion has now won 39 matches this year (including Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers), three more than her tally for the entire 2021 season.

    Data Slam: Dominant Swiatek

    Swiatek's win here makes her just the fourth player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She also won 85 per cent of points on her first serve (22 of 26) and did not face any break points.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Swiatek – 23/15
    Riske – 6/14

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Swiatek – 1/1
    Riske – 2/2

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Swiatek – 5/9
    Riske – 0/0

  • Former U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie West to step away from LPGA Tour at 32 Former U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie West to step away from LPGA Tour at 32

    Michelle Wie West, the teenage prodigy who went on to win the U.S. Women's Open, has announced she intends to step away from the LPGA Tour.

    The Hawaii-born player, who burst onto the scene as a 10-year-old when she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, will play just two more competitive events.

    Wie West, who gave birth to her first child in 2020, is now 32 and has only played once on the LPGA Tour this year, at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January.

    She will play the U.S. Women's Open next week and also next year, but that may be it for her as a professional golfer.

    "Excited to announce the next phase of my career as I'll be stepping back from playing on the @lpga_tour full time," Wie said on Instagram on Thursday. "I'm so grateful for the past 14 years I spent on tour, travelling the world and competing against the best in the game.

    "Excited to spend more time now on projects that I always wanted to do but never had time for and to continually work to help golf become a more diverse and inclusive space."

    She will work with Nike on golf projects and could yet one day make a playing return, but for now Wie West is done with the grind of the tour.

    "I don't have any regrets because I feel like I've always learned from every mistake that I've made," Wie West told Golfweek.

    "I feel like even if it was a huge major fail, at least it makes for a good story now. I think if I hadn't won the U.S. Open, I'd still be out there competing week to week trying to get that U.S. Open win."

    She said she felt "very happy in my decision".

    Tipped to be the Tiger Woods of the LPGA Tour as a teenager, Wie West was a record breaker during school, setting a series of impressive benchmarks and raising the profile of the women's game.

    At 14, she carded the lowest score ever by a woman competing on the PGA Tour with a 68 at the Sony Open, and turned professional just before her 16th birthday.

    Injuries hampered her progress despite a slew of major sponsorships, but she fought back in 2014 to claim her only major, in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

    Wie West won four other LPGA events during her career, most recently the HSBC Women's World Championship in 2018.

    Despite stepping away from the tour, she has refused to call it a retirement, adding: "I'm definitely not ruling anything out."

  • Man Utd CEO promises 'relentless' effort in bid to restore club to former glory Man Utd CEO promises 'relentless' effort in bid to restore club to former glory

    Manchester United are confident change is coming and they will be "relentless" in attempts to bring long-term success back to Old Trafford, according to CEO Richard Arnold.

    United have become accustomed to not challenging for the Premier League title since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, but the 2021-22 season saw them plumb new depths.

    Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, caretaker manager Michael Carrick and then interim manager Ralf Rangnick, United accumulated just 58 points, their worst record in a single Premier League campaign.

    But on top of that, champions Manchester City's haul of 93 points meant United finished the season 35 points adrift of the summit – that is comfortably the furthest off the top the Red Devils have ended a term in the Premier League era.

    It was also the first time since 1989-90 that United failed to finish a league season with a positive goal difference, as they scored and conceded 57 goals.

    United looked to get their preparations for next season started early by confirming the appointment of Erik ten Hag in April, and he has already taken up his role with a view to having a head-start when pre-season begins in late June.

    And CEO Arnold, now in charge following the departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, insisted club chiefs share the fans' frustrations but was keen to emphasise the board's confidence in bringing success back to United with their long-term strategy.

    Speaking at an April fans' forum from which the minutes were released on Thursday, Arnold said: "Suffice to say, we are not happy with where we are in terms of performance on the pitch.

    "We understand fans are frustrated and want to see change and improvement. I can assure you that we share that frustration very intensely within the club.

    "But we also feel confident that change is coming because of the action being taken to drive long-term success. The appointment of Erik ten Hag was the most visible example of that action, and the most important. We're pleased to have got that done early and we can't wait for Erik to get started.

    "Success won't be achieved overnight but we are determined to get there, and we will be relentless in our efforts to achieve it. The support of fans will be crucial, and we accept that we have further work to do to strengthen that relationship, aided by the work of this forum."

    When things are not going well on the pitch for United, frustrated fans quickly turn their attention to the club's owners, the Glazer family.

    Thousands of supporters protested the Glazers' ownership during United's last three home matches of the season, but Arnold is convinced the club is doing more than most to engage with and listen to fans.

    Additionally, he is hopeful an improvement in on-field matters next season will breed wider positivity.

    "As stated earlier, everyone at the club, from the owners down, accepts that performances this season have been well below what we expect," he continued. "We are taking decisive action to improve things and there is huge commitment and passion across the club to return to where we think we belong: challenging for, and winning, titles.

    "We are very aware of how fans are feeling and understand their concerns and frustration. Football is a game of passion and we fully respect fans' right to make their feelings known, as long as this remains legal and peaceful at all times. We have a duty of care to the fans who come to enjoy games, and to our staff who enable games to go ahead, and their safety will always be our priority.

    "I would very much hope that all fans within Old Trafford approach next season with renewed optimism and confidence as we look forward to a fresh start under Erik ten Hag.

    "We have the best fans in the world and when Old Trafford is at its loudest we have a significant advantage against our opponents. I hope this unrivalled passion will be used to support the team and the new manager as we start this exciting new chapter together.

    "As a club we are doing more than ever before – and more than most of our peers – to engage with fans and listen to your views. We have strengthened and expanded this fans' forum, set up our new fans' advisory board, and continue to engage directly with [fan] groups. We are committed to listening to our fans and working collaboratively to improve the fan experience and keep the club strong and healthy. We need fans to keep engaging with us to be able to do this."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.