Nate McMillan preparing for the world to be against the Hawks in the first-round

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I already talked about it yesterday, as 14 of a panel of 16 ESPN NBA “analysts” picked the Knicks to beat the Hawks in the first-round of the playoffs. If that doesn’t tell you who the national media wants to advance in this series, I don’t know what else will because there’s simply no way 16 knowledgable basketball minds could all look at this series without any bias and come to a 14-2 verdict that the Knicks will triumph over the Hawks. The basketball world, the media, and even the league would love to see New York advance. It’s better for their pockets, and some even think it’s better for basketball, but Nate McMillan won’t let that get in their way of advancing to the second round.

The Hawks head coach talked to the media about this very topic today.

McMillan even went as far as to say the Hawks have been practicing “not getting calls” in their scrimmages, preparing for how the officials may call the game in the Knicks favor.

The officiating will certainly be a storyline to watch, particularly surrounding Trae Young, who is one of the best at drawing fouls in the league. That’s a big part of his game, but the NBA could be cracking down on such plays during the playoffs.

Regardless, the Hawks will have to deal with the fact that most of the world will be rooting against them over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, they can harness that and use it to their advantage. The game will be won between the lines, and the Hawks should only be focused on what they can control.

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