The surprising Atlanta Hawks clash with the Milwaukee Bucks collide in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday. The Hawks won Game 1 116-113. Trae Young had a playoff-career-high 48 points to go along with 11 assists and seven rebounds, becoming the first player in NBA history to record at least 45 points and 10 assists in a Conference or Division Finals game. It was Young’s sixth 30-point playoff game on the road, the most in a player’s first career postseason in NBA history.
John Collins also shined for the Hawks with 23 points and 15 rebounds on 11 of 16 shooting and Clint Capela added 12 points and 19 rebounds on 6 of 9 shooting. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Hawks with 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists and Jrue finished with 33 points and 10 assists on 14 of 26 shooting.
Trae Young scored or assisted on 72 of the Hawks’ 116 points, which is the most ever in a conference finals game. As great as he was on Wednesday, the Bucks still had a seven-point lead with four minutes to play and were seemingly in control of the game, at home, with all the momentum on their side.
Milwaukee got an initial stop on five of Atlanta’s final seven possessions down the stretch — not counting trips where they fouled intentionally. Unfortunately for them they couldn’t get the requisite rebounds to close out those possessions and gave the game away on the glass.
The Hawks grabbed five offensive rebounds in the final four minutes, leading to nine second-chance points. This was the difference as they outscored the Bucks 18-8 down the stretch to steal Game 1. Atlanta got offensive rebounds when it mattered most. A big reason for that was Brook Lopez’s absence. Milwaukee had to take Lopez off the floor and go small because Trae Young was destroying them in the pick-and-roll. Without Lopez out there, the Hawks took advantage and crashed the boards hard. Can Milwaukee prevent Atlanta from exploiting this again? Game 2 will take place on Friday at 8:30 PM ET at Fiserv Forum.
Team to Win (Regular Time)
• Atlanta Hawks: 3.83
• Milwaukee Bucks: 1.30
• Atlanta Hawks: +7.5 (1.91)
• Milwaukee Bucks: -7.5 (1.90)
• Over 226.5 (1.90)
• Under 226.5 (1.91)
Key Points to Consider
Khris Middleton has to be the closer for the Bucks. Middleton had one of his worst games of the playoffs, finishing with 15 points on 6-for-23 from the field. That was the second-fewest points and tied for his worst shooting performance in the playoffs. It was also just the second time he failed to make a 3-point shot, as he went 0-for-9.
Middleton has been clutch for the Bucks time and again over the past few weeks and without him, they would not have made it this far. They won’t be playing much longer if he doesn’t turn things around on Friday. The Bucks just don’t have enough consistent scoring options to deal with a bad night from Middleton — especially if Brook Lopez is going to be played off the floor like we explained before.
The Hawks are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a road underdog, 5-1 ATS in their last six road games, 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall, 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning straight up record and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
For the Hawks, Trae Young is projected to finish with 25.0 points, 9.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds, making 7.8 field goals in 18.1 attempts.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to score 28.6 points with 12.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists, making 9.7 field goals in 19.3 attempts.
Two-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick on the Hawks in this one. Average score in simulations is Milwaukee Bucks 113.7 to Atlanta Hawks 108.5.
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