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05.07.2021 Basketball

NBA play-offs: Milwaukee Bucks reach final after beating Atlanta Hawks

By BBC
Antetokounmpo (left) missed the last two games for the Bucks but they still managed to win both
LISTEN JUL 5, 2021
Antetokounmpo (left) missed the last two games for the Bucks but they still managed to win both

The Milwaukee Bucks reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974 by overcoming the Atlanta Hawks to win the Eastern Conference title.

The Bucks earned a 118-107 victory in game six to claim the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Khris Middleton scored 32 points and Jrue Holiday 27 to propel a Milwaukee side missing injured star player Giannis Antetokounmpo to the win.

They will play Western Conference victors the Phoenix Suns in the final.

The first game in the best-of-seven series will take place in Phoenix from 02:00 BST on Wednesday.

Middleton was again key for the Bucks as he scored 16 straight points - and 23 in total - for his side in the third quarter to give them a 91-72 lead going into the final period.

''My teammates and my coaches, they told me to keep being aggressive,'' said Middleton.

''I love it. Each one of these guys, they work every single day. Everybody stays ready. Everybody stays locked in. We all play for each other. And that's all you can ask for.''

Trae Young was back after two games out with a foot injury for the Hawks but managed just 14 points, with team-mate Cam Reddish scoring a team-high 21 points for the home side.

"I didn't want to go and not play and think to myself all off-season what if I could have been out there and played," said Young.

"It would have hurt me so I just decided to go out and play and leave it all out on the floor."

The Suns will have home advantage for the finals series as they had a better record in the regular season.

It remains to be seen whether two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo will have recovered from a knee injury to play.

"They have a focus and an edge," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer after his team's win.

"That's put us in a position to keep playing. That's impressive, but we've still got more work to do."

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