For the second time this postseason the Atlanta Hawks fairytale playoff run is on the brink of elimination.
Once again without Trae Young, the young Hawks expected the Milwaukee Bucks to come out hot, they just couldn't come up with the execution on the fly to do anything about it.
"We knew they were going to come with that sense of urgency tonight," head coach Nate McMillan lamented, with Milwaukee missing a superstar of their own in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
"They were going to continue to attack without Giannis, that's just how they play. We knew they would go to Lopez more and they did, they just dominated."
Brook Lopez was indeed unstoppable in the paint, finishing with 33 points on 14-for-16 shooting within the arc. Lopez and the Bucks set the tone in the first quarter with an extraodinary 28 points in the paint.
"They were more physical. They hit us in the mouth and we did not recover from that," McMillan continued.
"No defence on the ball, no defence off the ball, weakside help was not there. They were the more physical, aggressive team from start to finish."
Veteran forward Danilo Gallinari continued his strong series, finishing with 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting, denying the locker room's confidence has been dented.
Defend home court Saturday.#BelieveAtlanta pic.twitter.com/kbu7CqbC0i- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) July 2, 2021
"We have a lot of confidence. That's something we've had all season. We've been here before, we are in the Eastern Conference Finals so we have a lot of basketball to play. We have to get the next one and we will."
A rare bright spot for Atlanta was another big performance from Bogdan Bogdanovic, with the guard battling knee soreness throughout the series. Bogdanovic tallied 28 points, hitting seven triples in Game 5 after hitting six last time out.
"No one in the locker room loses confidence," said Bogdanovic. "It's a different series obviously but we are going to keep believing."
"In the playoffs it's about in game adjustments. Tonight we couldn't find a way to stop them. This game is over so we have to think about adjustments for next game, we know what they're going to do now."
All postseason long McMillan has denied his squad are happy with their success, instead they have remained hungry for more, believing they are capable of winning a title. To keep those hopes alive they must beat the Bucks in Game 6 at home.
"It is a must win game for us. That's what it comes down to. It's a one game season for us so we know what we have to do, we got to get back home and get ourselves ready to take care of business at home."
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