The Atlanta Hawks need to shut Bobby Portis out of the series

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs. They are also two games away from making their first NBA Finals appearance during their time in Atlanta. This is such an impressive effort for a team for whom the majority of their core had not played playoff basketball before.

The Hawks had an opportunity in the fifth game of the series to get an advantage over the Bucks in the series with Giannis Antetokounmpo out. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they were beaten to the punch by a more experienced Bucks team at home. They were simply more aggressive and seemed to want it more.

However, count this Hawks team out at your peril. They have a history of bouncing back after a big loss, well, when healthy, and they know how to win on their home court. If they are going to be able to do this, then they need to shut the Bucks fourth option, Bobby Portis down for the rest of the series.

The Atlanta Hawks need to take away the momentum of Bobby Portis.

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While it is important to stop Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, the Hawks have the personnel for that. Clint Capela also needs to step up on Brook Lopez. All of these players are going to get some decent numbers as they have all been stars on different teams.

Portis was really good in the opening series for the Bucks against the Miami Heat. Then, in the series against the Brooklyn Nets, Portis fell out of the rotation. He did not play in the final three games of that series. In this series, Portis has been the barometer for the Bucks, as they say, some matchups are better than others.

Of the five games played so far in the series, where Portis has had either a zero or negative impact on the box score, the Bucks have lost. When he has a positive impact on the box score, the Bucks have won. This includes Game 5 where he stepped in for their injured star.

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If Antetokounmpo does not play in the sixth game of the series, then Portis will get the start again. If the Bucks get off to another fast start, his energy will be a big contributor to that. If John Collins plays on him, he needs to match or exceed Portis’ energy and effort in order to nullify his impact.

Then the Hawks must do this for Game 7 as well, should they get there. The problem with that is that Portis gets a huge lift from his home fans, so the Hawks need to keep them quiet with a fast start.