Why De'Andre Hunter thinks Hawks have a real chance to upset Celtics


The underdogs are suddenly feeling themselves in the 2023 NBA playoffs.

The Miami Heat stunned the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, becoming just the fifth No. 8 seed in NBA history to upset a No. 1 seed by dispatching Giannis Antetokounmpo's squad in five games.

Miami's upset seemingly helps the Boston Celtics, who now have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. But that assumes they get past the No. 7 seed Atlanta Hawks, who kept their season alive with a stunning Game 5 win in Boston on Tuesday.

Tatum gives honest reaction to Heat's upset of No. 1 seed Bucks

And in the wake of the Heat's victory, Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter believes his team can channel some Miami magic against Boston.

"They just showed (the template)," Hunter said of the Heat before Thursday's Game 6 in Atlanta, via Hawks.com's Kevin Chouinard.

"(Miami) played two play-in games. We played one. They got the #8 seed and beat the #1 seed, and I feel like we could do the same."

We understand Hunter's logic to an extent, and we understand why Atlanta is feeling confident after erasing a 13-point Celtics lead in the final five minutes of Game 5. The Hawks also will welcome back Dejounte Murray after their All-Star guard was suspended for Game 5 and will have their home crowd behind them, so momentum is currently on their side.

For now, however, history is still on Boston's side: The Celtics are 41-4 all-time when leading a series 3-2, and only twice in the last six seasons has an NBA team blown a 3-1 series lead (the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers, both in 2020).

And if Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla wants to give his team a little extra motivation, perhaps he'll circulate Hunter's quote in the locker room before Game 6.

Tip-off from State Farm Arena is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston.

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