‘Can Beat These Guys’: Shaquille O’Neal Bent on Hawks Winning Series Despite Blowout Loss in Game 2 vs Bucks

Published 06/26/2021, 12:06 AM EDT
Jun 23, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the fourth quarter during game one of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks avenged their Game 1 home-court loss to the Hawks in the best way possible. They ousted the visitors 125-91 in a night that saw the whole Milwaukee roster contributing heavily. It was one such game Mike Budenholzer would like to call a benchmark for the future postseason ties. 


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The Hawks showed some fight in the beginning, but they later allowed the deers to catch and rip them apart. From the looks of it, the #5 seed seems to be on the back foot ahead of the remaining series now. However, there is a Hall of Famer NBA analyst who disagrees.

Shaquille O’Neal still foresees Atlanta Hawks winning it all


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The Atlanta-based unit seemed to have no answers whatsoever against Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak scored 25 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals to finish the game in style. 

Still, Shaquille O’Neal, in a recent NBA on TNT episode, believed that the underdogs will find their way out. The 49-YO called out coach Nate McMillan to use some pep talk in their film session and expressed that the Hawks can take the series in six.

The 4x NBA Champion added, “I say six. The next conversation Nate needs to have with the team coming tomorrow, watch film, and say, ‘Guys, we can beat these guys, we did it. This last game we didn’t play well. We’re at home now, heck, play with confidence because guess what? Opportunities like this do not come around. We’re at home now, Trae take your ball, we can beat these guys if we play like we played in Game 1. Just bring the energy, I say five or six.”


Trae Young Joins Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in Unique Playoff Record During Game 1 Win Over Bucks

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Where did Trae Young’s men struggle against the Bucks?

For one, Jrue Holiday was extremely effective in guarding Trae Young. The 31-YO did not allow Trae to breathe as he forced the 22-YO to attempt more long-range shots.

The youngster, who had 48 points in Game 1, scored just 15 in Game 2 with 1/8 accuracy from the three-point range.

Furthermore, Clint Capela and Solomon Hill were flop shows as they struggled to score even a couple field goals in the entire night. The Hawks could not keep the possession as much as the Bucks did because they ended up with way too many turnovers in Q2 and Q3. 


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Jun 23, 2021; Trae Young shoots during ECF for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

For the Bucks, Mamadi Diakite scored his first-ever playoff three as the trio of Pat Connaughton, Jrue, and Brook Lopez combined 9/12

If the Hawks want to win the next game, they’ll have to find a way to beat the Bucks inside the paint. Do you think they can devise a strategy and put weight on Shaq’s claims? Help us know your opinion in the comments below.


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Sourabh Singh

1418 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.



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