There is a lot of pressure on the Atlanta Hawks as they lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Having been able to attain a split with the Bucks in Milwaukee, this is an opportunity to take the advantage back.
But the Hawks have to be able to psychologically bounce back from the 125-91 pasting they took at the hands of the Bucks in Game 2. And part of that whole process has to involve something substantial from star guard Trae Young, who was stymied two nights ago.
It’s not so much what Young can do on offense, but what he may be able to do on the defensive end too. That’s something we’re going to put a focus on as we examine NBA playoff props at BetOnline.
JRUE HOLIDAY – TOTAL POINTS
Over 20.5 points -111
Under 20.5 points -116
One of the differences in Milwaukee’s result in Game 2 of this series is that they were able to put together a defensive scheme against Trae Young that worked even better than they may have imagined. We mentioned to you in our last piece that Young averaged 18.9 points in seven games against the Bucks, before his 48-point outburst in the series opener.
With Jrue Holiday applying what even Young would admit was a lot more “intensity,” the Hawks’ big scorer made six field goals in 16 attempts, did 1-of-8 from downtown, and fumbled the ball away nine times. And of course, that’s no accident, as Holiday was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team this season.
Not only has Holiday presented difficulty for Young when the Hawks have the ball, he is also a problem at the other end.
When Young came into the NBA, it was common knowledge that any team that selected him would have to deal with the fact that he was very slight, which made him a potential defensive liability. And against the Milwaukee lineup, it forces a particular conundrum upon him.
Against the Bucks’ combination that is going to spend the most time on the floor, Young has no one to match up with aside from Holiday. He can’t switch off to someone else; I mean, who would that be? Not center Brook Lopez. Not Giannis. Not Khris Middleton. And not PJ Tucker, who is several inches taller and weighs 245 pounds.
And so Holiday has, well, a potential holiday when he’s got the ball in his hands. He has averaged over 27 points when he has played against Young, and had 22 in 32 minutes in the 34-point rout in Game 2. He had 33 in Game 1.
One of the overlooked factors in this series was Holiday’s ability to generate offense. But you can recognize that with an “Over” in this prop.
Now let’s talk about the big guy.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO – TOTAL POINTS
Over 33.5 points -108
Under 33.5 points -120
Only two players have scored at least 50 points in the paint in the first two games of a playoff series in the last 25 years. Giannis is one of them.
So it is obvious that he is getting some easy baskets, and has proven to be too difficult for Atlanta’s interior defense to deal with, even with Clint Capela on hand.
It’s a good thing that’s happening for him, because he hasn’t made a three-pointer yet. He’s scored 34 and 25 points in the two games, but let’s note that he played only 29 minutes in Game 2, or he may have put more on the board.
Gee, maybe this guy can get to the line a little more? Let’s see. As we mentioned, Jrue Holiday has a pathway to some offense, but Middleton has not been all that productive. Is he less of a “go-to” guy now?
We’d rather be on the “over” side of this one. And to answer the question, yes, we think these players can both go over in their props while the game goes under.
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