Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: What to watch for in Game 3 between Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks

After dropping Game 1 at home, the Milwaukee Bucks weren't going to leave Wisconsin winless as they demolished the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 to even the series.

With Game 3 shifting to Atlanta, what will the Hawks have to do differently to defend home court and fend off a revitalized Bucks team?

Take a look at a few keys to the game as Milwaukee and Atlanta each look to gain a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Get Trae Young going again

This one doesn't take a rocket science to know: the Hawks will have to get their best player going in order to win Game 3.

The Bucks did a fantastic job defending Young in Game 2 after the 22-year-old torched them for 48 points and 11 assists in Game 1. In the blowout, Young was held to just 15 points and three assists - both of which are postseason lows by far - while committing a career-high-tying nine turnovers.

But what did Milwaukee do differently to shut down the prolific star?

Jrue Holiday took on the bulk of the assignment, defending Young on roughly 23 partial possessions, forcing him to go 2-for-9 from the field and 1-for-7 from 3 for just five points and four turnovers. And while Holiday deserves credit for his defensive efforts, the team executed the gameplan to perfection, making sure there were at least three bodies in Young's way every time he tried to get into his comfort zone with a pick-and-roll.

It was clear that the Bucks were willing to leave some of Atlanta's supporting cast on the perimeter if it meant making life more difficult for Young. The help-side defenders did a great job of blizting Young real quick to create chaos before returning to their original assignment once the on-ball defender was able to recover from the screen.

Young and the Hawks will have to find a way to beat that coverage to allow Trae to create for himself and his teammates again in Game 3.

Stopping Jrue Holiday on offence

Teams know that Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to get his but you have to try and contain Holiday and Khris Middleton in order to beat the Bucks. So far, through the first two games of this series, the Hawks have had no answer for Holiday's scoring.

Holiday had a solid offensive series to kick off the postseason against the Miami Heat, but his 3-point shot wasn't falling. Against the Brooklyn Nets, Holiday couldn't generate much of any scoring looks, averaging just 15.1 points per game on 36.1 percent shooting from the field and 26.1 percent shooting from 3.

Entering the Conference Finals, he had shot just 15-for-61 from beyond the arc, posting an ugly 24.6 percent shooting from long range in the playoffs.

Against the Hawks, he has finally broken through offensively, going for 33 points and 10 assists in Game 1 and 22 points and seven assists in Game 2. Most impressively, he's regained his shooting touch, knocking down 59.0 percent of his field goals and 50.0 percent from 3-point range.

According to NBA stats' matchup data, the Hawks had Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic split time almost equally on Holiday in Game 1. In Game 2, it was Huerter who handled the bulk of the load with Solomon Hill also getting a crack at the two-way guard. In Game 3, Atlanta will have to search for another answer to hinder Holiday's scoring output or otherwise, they'll be in trouble of falling behind in the series.

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