Trae Young’s 48-Point Explosion Led The Hawks To A Game 1 Win In Milwaukee

The Bucks and Hawks met in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night and produced a thriller. For all of the hand-wringing about whether the four markets in the conference finals were what the NBA would want, the basketball through three games (including the first two Suns-Clippers games) have been spectacular.

Early on, the Bucks took the advantage thanks to great early ball movement and stellar play from Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo, as they were able to go up by as many as nine in the first half and held a five-point advantage at the break.

Trae Young held the Hawks in it with 25 points in the first half as he was able to get to his spots early and often, shaking off a rough Game 7 shooting night with a tremendous effort in Game 1.

The third quarter was more of the Trae Young show, but most importantly he started getting everyone else involved and the Hawks offense began to hum, outscoring Milwaukee 34-26 to take a three-point lead to the fourth. The highlights of the game came from that third quarter explosion, as Young hit John Collins on a wild off-the-backboard lob and then shook Holiday to get wide open for a three, drilling it after a shimmy before the shot to the delight of everyone, including LeBron James.

The Bucks would have an answer though in a big run in the fourth quarter to retake the lead and suddenly it seemed like they might take control of the game as Giannis woke up and they were able to get him consistent looks at the rim.

Young didn’t score much to open the fourth quarter, but got to 40 points with this and-1 bucket to close the gap back down to one possession, and set up a thrilling finish.

The two teams would trade buckets for much of the rest of the way, with the Bucks never able to get separation but the Hawks struggling to close the gap completely. That was until there were 30 seconds to play and, after a rare stop, Atlanta got a massive putback bucket from Clint Capela off a Young miss that gave Atlanta the lead again at 112-111.

The Bucks then got the ball with a chance to take the lead and Khris Middleton, who had been dreadful all night offensively, was able to get baseline and draw the help, kicking it out to Pat Connaughton who fired up an airball that then got tipped around and eventually into the hands of Young.

Trae would hit both of his free throws and then, for some reason, the Bucks with under 10 seconds to play threw the ball inside to Giannis who got fouled without being able to get the ball up for a possible and-1. Antetokounmpo managed to hit both of his free throws in a bit of a surprise to cut the lead back down to one with 5.3 seconds to go. Young then got the ball and was fouled with 4.6 seconds on the clock, hitting both to get himself to 48 points and 11 assists on the night and, once again, set up a scenario for the Bucks to need a three to tie the game.

That was a challenge the Bucks were not up to, as Middleton launched a three that went begging to finish his night with 15 points on 6-of-23 shooting.

That meant the Hawks picked up yet another road win in these playoffs, as they have been sensational away from Atlanta so far this postseason, to steal homecourt advantage. Young’s performance made NBA history, becoming the first player with a 48/11 stat line as he continues to be an absolutely dominant force for the Hawks, carving up the Milwaukee defense as he has with every defense thus far.

As for support for Young, John Collins continues to be spectacular for Atlanta, scoring 23 points and piling up 15 rebounds on 11-of-16 shooting. Game 7 hero Kevin Huerter had 13 points and Clint Capela had 12, but it was the Young and Collins show that drove the Hawks to this big win.

For Milwaukee, they got everything they could’ve asked for from Antetokounmpo and Holiday, who combined for 67 points (with both going 14-of-25 from the field), but Middleton’s disastrous shooting night, coupled with their role players likewise being ice cold from three (8-for-36 from deep as a team) was just too much for them to overcome on a night where Young had it all working. They’ll have plenty to go over in the film room with regards to their coverage on Young, but that’s a code no one has cracked all postseason.