The young Atlanta Hawks making it to the Eastern Conference Finals has been one of the best stories of the Playoffs, but it looks they are not ready to stop just yet. Last night we witnessed a great opening game in which the Milwaukee Bucks hosted the Atlanta Hawks at the Fiserv Forum. The game was a tight contest from start to finish, but in the end, the Hawks managed to prevail and win 116-113, taking the lead of the series and stealing home-court advantage.
Trae Young showed up once again, proving he is slowly becoming one of the most elite players in the NBA, scoring 48 points alongside 11 assists and 7 rebounds. The Bucks had no answer for Trae, but a great game from John Collins (23 points,15 rebounds), who scored a crucial corner three-pointer in the clutch, proved to be enough to win the game. On the other side, the Bucks dynamic duo, Giannis Antetokounmpo (34 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) and Jrue Holiday (33 points, 10 assists), had great games but lack of contributions from the other players, especially Middleton, proved to be detrimental.
As most people expected the Bucks to take control of the series from the jump, the NBA world reacted to the Hawks' great Game 1 victory and Trae's amazing performance.
After the game, John Collins joined the Inside the NBA Crew and shared how the Hawks have managed to come out of nowhere and surprise the whole NBA.
"It's just one thing I say if it's cliche or cheesy regardless, we talk about how much of a team, how together we are and how much brothers we are on this team, and how much that matters. A lot of people look at this team and overlook us, take us for granted, so for us to come out here and get a win is big time."
John Collins, Inside the NBA
You could say the main reason for the Bucks losing was the lack of production outside of Giannis and Holiday, but the real problems showed up on the defensive side of the floor. The Hawks ran simple pick and rolls for Trae, getting him the space he needed to get himself a bucket or set up his teammates. Brook Lopez had a horrible game, especially when it came to defending and rebounding the ball, and his backup Bobby Portis, who got activated after a few DNP's, also didn't bring much help.
Budenholzer will need to look at some adjustments and possible small-ball lineups. If the Bucks continue to run a traditional big at center, Trae will look for the switch every time and punish them. Maybe playing Giannis at center could be the solution. Who knows, but coach Bud is one of those coaches that doesn't like adjustments and runs with his concept to the end. Game 2 will be crucial, as the Bucks don't want to go to Atlanta with a 2-0 deficit, so we can expect another great game on Saturday.
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