In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 116-113 on the road.
Coach Nate McMillan’s upstart club seized a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series thanks to a remarkable effort by Trae Young, who scored 48 points and disrupted the Milwaukee Bucks defense all night.
The Atlanta Hawks won the first game of their third consecutive playoff series on Wednesday, and the Milwaukee Bucks are the third club that didn’t appear to know what to expect from them. Giannis Antetokounmpo ruled the paint, scoring 34 points and keeping his team in the game late in the fourth quarter.
However, Young and John Collins, who had 23 points and 15 rebounds, would make important plays down the line for the Atlanta Hawks, giving their side the victory and denying the Milwaukee Bucks home court advantage.
The Milwaukee Bucks can’t stop Trae Young but they rule the paint
After Brook Lopez’s 3-pointer got the Milwaukee Bucks underway, both teams went cold from beyond the arc. Early in the game, the Bucks, in particular, would go 1-for-8. The Hawks followed suit, going 0-for-9 in the visitors’ shaky start.
The Atlanta Hawks called a timeout at 6:33, with the Milwaukee Bucks leading 13-10. Young was essentially the only one who could score, accounting for eight of the Hawks’ first ten points. He’d finish the period with 12, a foreshadowing of what was to follow the rest of the way.
Baseline Giannis dunks never get old. pic.twitter.com/xO3PUZp6GM— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 24, 2021
But it was the Milwaukee Bucks who led after one quarter, 28-25.
By the second quarter, the Milwaukee Bucks had continued to dominating the shaded area, with 32 of their 38 points coming in the paint. The Bucks attempted 20 shots and netted 17 of them.
Young, on the other hand, kept hot and got his teammates more involved. With 4:06 left before halftime, he scored back-to-back threes before finding an open Kevin Huerter with a behind-the-back pass for another three-pointer to give the Atlanta Hawks a 46-45 lead.
By halftime, the Milwaukee Bucks led, 59-54, with Antetokounmpo and Holiday combining for 30 points. Young, on the other hand, had 25 points all by himself, with Kevin Huerter coming in second with only nine points.
Trae Young toys around with Milwaukee Bucks; Atlanta Hawks outhustle opponent
The Atlanta Hawks finally got everyone engaged in the third quarter, with Collins in particular crashing the boards and soaring high for dunks. He and Young would be involved in one of the most thrilling postseason plays of all time.
The Hawks guard would pass the ball off the backboard to a teammate, who would smash it home with two hands. With 4:23 remaining in the period, Atlanta would lead 77-73.
Young would outdo Collins a few minutes later, escaping Holiday and doing a shimmy before nailing a 3-pointer at the 2:26 mark of the third quarter.
This would give the Atlanta Hawks their largest lead of the night, 86-78.
The Hawks outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 34-26 in the third quarter to take an 88-85 advantage into the fourth quarter.
After Antetokounmpo joined the game, the Milwaukee Bucks caught up in the fourth quarter.
With less than six minutes remaining, the Greek Freak dunk was set up by a lob pass from Khris Middleton. On their following possession, he hit a short jumper, followed by a fastbreak layup and a foul.
With 4:18 remaining, Antetokounmpo collected the long rebound off his failed free throw and Holiday hit a three-pointer to give the Milwaukee Bucks a seven-point lead, 105-98.
Jus throw it up and Giannis will throw it down!! pic.twitter.com/LE5ELrIBhf— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 24, 2021
The Atlanta Hawks, on the other hand, responded with a putback slam by Collins and a and-1 by Trae Young to narrow the margin to two points with 3:26 remaining. Following a pair of basket-for-basket exchanges, the Hawks took the lead on a follow-up dunk by Clint Capela, 111-110, with 29.8 seconds remaining in the game.
Young then made four free throws late in the game to seal the victory for the Atlanta Hawks.