Courtesy of Khris Middleton's red-hot fourth quarter in Game 3, the Milwaukee Bucks have re-taken the home court advantage and now hold the 2-1 series lead.
In Game 4, they have a chance to put a stranglehold on the series by extending their lead to a commanding 3-1 position. Can they do that or will the Hawks, even with an injured Trae Young, retaliate to tie-up the series?
Below, find everything you need to know ahead of a pivotal Game 4.
Matchup: No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs No. 5 Atlanta Hawks
Series: Bucks lead 2-1
Where to watch
Date: Tuesday, June 29
Time: 8:30 p.m ET (6:00 a.m IST)
TV: ESPN (US), TSN (Canada), Star Sports (India)
Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
What to watch
This Milwaukee Bucks squad feels different. They don't seem to put their heads down, they just keep battling. They take their opponent's best punch but stand up again, to ensure they can land some punches of their own.
The postseason is as much of a mental contest as it is physical. They've shown tremendous mental fortitude so far these playoffs, erasing their demons from last year by sweeping the Miami Heat in the first round and then, persevering in an absolute slugfest of a series with the talented Brooklyn Nets.
This Game 4 is crucial for them. The Hawks might be wounded but they are the LA Clippers of the East, battling and extending series no matter what the circumstances. So although, they are the favourites, the Bucks must play like it and dominate as they did in Game 2.
They musn't allow the Hawks to spring one on them because any extra days, with the series going longer, only allows Trae Young more time to rehab and recover - more on that.
Big 3 formula working
Bringing in a reliable two-way guard in Jrue Holiday, alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, seems to be working for the Bucks. Not only do their games mesh well but each of them plays off the other.
Each of them are players who contribute on both ends of the floor and if one struggles to knock down shots, on que, the other two pick up the slack. That's been their story on the offensive end of the floor this postseason.
Given the injury disparity between both teams, the Bucks have the advantage but it's critical that they enforce that.
- Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694), NBA India
Trae Young's health
Young suffered a right ankle sprain at the end of the third quarter of Game 3 and is listed as questionable for Game 4. If he cannot go, the Hawks will be in a world of trouble with so much of their offence generated by the dynamic point guard.
MORE: Trae Young (bone bruise) 'questionable' for Game 4
Their lone win agianst the Bucks in the regular season, came without Young in the lineup, thanks to a 32-point performnace from Bogdan Bogdanovic, 20 points from Kevin Huerter and 15 apiece from Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams.
Can the role players create enough offence with a hobbled Young or no Young altogether? His status is the single-biggest difference-maker in this pivotal home game for Atlanta.
Keep the Bucks out of the paint
The Bucks are at their best when Giannis Antetkoounmpo is flying downhill, getting to the rim and while it's easier said than done, the Hawks must find a away to keep him and his teammates out of the paint.
MORE: The Bucks are dominating the offensive glass
Through the first three games of the series, the Bucks have pummelled the Hawks' interior, with Young's scorching 48-point peformance just enough to keep them at bay in Game 1.
Points in the Paint - Eastern Conference Finals
Clint Capela alone as the Hawks' last line of defence isn't going to be enough. They'll need to make their help defence and defensive rebounding a priority in Game 4.
Don't be surprised if we see more minutes for rookie Onyeka Okongwu, who has shown he has the size and strength to muscle up inside against the Bucks' big bodies.
GIMMIE THAT‼️ pic.twitter.com/ks2HiOBBA3- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 28, 2021
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane), NBA Australia
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