Atlanta’s Trae Young scored a profession playoff excessive 48 factors and the Hawks edged host Milwaukee 116-113 in Wednesday’s opening sport of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
Young, who additionally contributed 11 assists and 7 rebounds, scored 12 factors within the fourth quarter to spark a rally that baffled the Bucks.
“We just keep fighting until the end, no matter what the score is,” Young mentioned. “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Young had essentially the most factors by any participant making his convention finals debut because the NBA adopted the convention format 50 years in the past.
The best-of-seven sequence continues Friday at Milwaukee with the winner advancing to an NBA Finals matchup in opposition to both the Phoenix Suns or the Los Angeles Clippers.
John Collins scored 23 factors and grabbed 15 rebounds whereas Clint Capela had 12 factors and 19 rebounds.
“People overlook this team, take us for granted, so for us to come out here and get a win is big time,” Collins mentioned.
Greek star huge man Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 factors, 12 rebounds and 9 assists whereas Jrue Holiday had 33 factors and 10 assists for the Bucks in a dropping trigger.
“We’ll get better,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned. “We’ll get smarter game after game.”
It was Milwaukee’s first residence playoff loss this season.
“Young’s a great player,” Budenholzer mentioned. “He had a great night. We feel like we can play better.”
Collins scored eight factors, six on dunks, and Young added seven in a 21-8 Atlanta run that gave the Hawks a 79-73 lead late within the third quarter earlier than the Bucks rallied.
Antetokounmpo scored six factors to steer a 13-2 Bucks’ run for a 105-98 lead, however Collins hit a jumper and Young, who hit 17-of-34 photographs from the ground, added a 3-point play to elevate the Hawks again inside two factors.
The sport was poised on a knife’s edge till Collins hit a 3-pointer and Capela scored on a rebound put-back that lifted the Hawks forward 112-11 with 29.8 seconds remaining.
Young grabbed a free ball and sank two extra free throws, then he and Antetokounmpo exchanged free throws within the ultimate seconds to create the ultimate margin.
Khris Middleton, who went 0-of-9 from 3-point vary, missed an try and elevate the Bucks degree from past the arc within the ultimate seconds to seal Atlanta’s victory.
“I believe in this team,” Young mentioned. “We knew we might get a cease. We simply buckled down and bought it.
“Our confidence never goes away. We put too much work in to stop believing in each other.”
There greater than 16,000 spectators within the Bucks’ enviornment and about as many outdoors watching on an enormous display screen.
The Hawks, who had misplaced their seven prior video games in Milwaukee since 2016, had been primarily based in Milwaukee for 4 seasons within the Fifties. They gained their solely NBA title in 1958 whereas primarily based in St. Louis. They final reached the NBA Finals in 1961 when primarily based in St. Louis.
The Bucks misplaced to Toronto within the 2019 convention finals and to Miami in final yr’s convention semi-finals, with Antetokounmpo profitable the NBA Most Valuable Player award each seasons.
The Bucks haven’t reached the NBA Finals since 1974, once they misplaced to Boston in seven video games. The Bucks gained their solely NBA title in 1971 once they swept Baltimore within the finals.
– Leonard out, Paul possibly –
The Clippers, trailing Phoenix 0-2 of their sequence, mentioned Wednesday that star Kawhi Leonard won’t play in sport three on Thursday in Los Angeles because of a proper knee sprain, the fifth sport in a row he has missed.
Leonard has averaged 30.4 factors, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 11 playoff video games earlier than struggling the harm in sport 4 of the Western Conference semi-finals in opposition to Utah.
Phoenix listed guard Chris Paul as possible after he missed the primary two video games of the sequence whereas within the NBA’s Covid-19 well being and security protocols.
Paul, a former Clipper, averaged 25.5 factors, 10.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds a sport for the Suns within the second spherical in opposition to Denver.