NBA Playoffs: Free NBA Picks Today for Thursday, July 1st, 2021

NBA Playoffs: Free NBA Picks Today for Thursday, July 1st, 2021
Thu 1st July 2021

The Eastern Conference Finals are becoming a survival of the fittest with stars dropping left, right and center. Our NBA picks have sorted through the injury report, form and statistics to find who will win tonight’s vital Game Five clash.

With so much uncertainty heading into tonight’s clash, we have analysed the series so far to find the trends and give you the winner! You won’t want to miss out tonight’s edition of our free NBA picks!

Atlanta Hawks @ Milwaukee Bucks (Game 5) – 8:30pm EDT

No Trae Young, no problems for the Atlanta Hawks. Down 2-1 and with their superstar sidelined for an extremely important Game Four, the Hawks came out swinging and dominated the Milwaukee Bucks from the jump, eventually winning 110-88.

However, the game was marred by multiple injuries to players on both sides and it will have a massive impact for tonight’s game. Giannis Antetokounmpo landed awkwardly and hyperextended his knee in the third quarter and despite his scans coming back clean, his timetable to return is uncertain. In the dying minutes, once the game was already iced, Clint Capela copped an errant hand to the face and suffered an eye injury, making him questionable for tonight. 

With Young, Antetokounmpo and Capela all doubtful or questionable to play, it is hard to get a gauge on form and possible outcomes for this game, especially with Atlanta playing the way that they did on Tuesday. It is hard to know what to take out of Game Four, given it was Milwaukee’s worst game by far and Atlanta had improved in multiple areas.

The Bucks shot their worst field goal and three point percentage of the series, just 39.3% and 20.5% respectively, and made their equal lowest number of threes, eight, as well. Given their lack of ability to hit shots, Milwaukee had just 19 assists for the game, after dishing out 27, 29 and 27 through the first three games. Atlanta on the other hand shot above 50% from the field for the first time in the series, 50.6% and also dished out more than 20 assists for the first time, 26. 

Much like Phoenix in Game Five, Milwaukee rocked up and just expected it to happen for them. They were mistaken. Atlanta got out to a quick 10-2 lead and never looked back. Milwaukee was able to tie the game numerous times during the first quarter but the Hawks lead 25-22 at the end of the period and then lead for the remainder of the game. 

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Lou Williams stepped into the starting role and delivered for Atlanta, putting up his best game for the Hawks since being traded earlier in the season. He finished with a game high 21 points on just 7-9 (77.8%) shooting, adding eight assists too. Bogdan Bogdanovic, who hadn’t scored 10+ points in six games, shot the ball brilliantly to finishing with 20 points, five assists, four steals and six made threes. 

Another massive positive for the Hawks was the play of Cam Reddish off the bench. In just his second game since mid-February, Reddish was tasked with guarding both Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton throughout the game, playing with such a physical edge that put both off their games. He finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting and 2-3 from deep, adding five boards, two steals and a block with it.

That sort of play is going to take Atlanta far, especially if Antetokounmpo is sidelined with his knee injury. He managed just 14 points and eight boards in his 24 minutes, going 0-3 from the free throw line, including two airballs. His absence will put even more pressure on Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who managed just 16 and 19 points respectively, with the pair both shooting just 6-17 (35.3%) from the field. 

Holiday has had two games of 30+ points in this series while Middleton had an incredible 38 point effort in Game Three, but the pair will both need to be at the top of their games in this one if Milwaukee is to have any chance of coming out on top. The likes of Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Bryn Forbes can’t really be trusted to fill in the hole left by the 2x MVP and the Bucks begin to run really light in the depth chart after that.

With that being said, if both Young and Capela are either out or play less than 100%, this gives Milwaukee an opportunity to bounce back at home, in front of their raucous fans. There is so much expectation surrounding the Bucks that, even if Antetokounmpo doesn’t play, a loss will still be a major disappointment. We expect the role players, Holiday and Middleton to all step up big time after a poor showing on Wednesday and allow the Bucks to take the 3-2 series lead. 

NBA Pick – Milwaukee Bucks (-126)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.