ATLANTA – The Atlanta Hawks proved that they are more than a one-man team.
Now, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks who may have to show they can get by without the Greek Freak.
After Trai Young was sidelined with an unusual injury, Lou Williams and a host of Hawks stepped in to fill the void, allowing Atlanta to beat the Bucks 110-88 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.
“Total team effort,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan.
In another surprising turn in a series no one saw coming, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was kicked off the court with an injured left knee, denying the Bucks their best player.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” said coach Mike Budenholzer. “We will take everything as soon as it comes. We will evaluate it. We have a team, a roster.”
Williams started for Young and did a fine job with 21 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 20 to break a series-long slump, and the Hawks pulled off in the third quarter to tie the series with two wins. .
Game 5 is Thursday night in Milwaukee.
It is not known whether Young or Antetokounmpo will be able to play.
Long one of the NBA’s best players, Williams will be ready to resume for the Hawks if needed.
“I knew about an hour before the game that I was going to start,” Williams said, when they said the try was out, so I just had to focus on my energy, put on a different hat and play the game. had to be ready for,” Williams said,
Young was declared out about 45 minutes before tipoff, when he sustained a bone fracture while twisting his right ankle on an official’s leg in Game 3. He looked from the bench in a black warm-up suit, his head barely noticeable with a hood and a mask over his face.
Turns out, it wasn’t needed.
“Everyone played with confidence. Everyone played at a high level,” Williams said, “going back to Milwaukee, we have to bottle it up and take it with us.”
Antetokounmpo had a disappointing first half, scoring only six points and breaking a pair of airballs from the free-throw line. He returned with eight points in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, including a step-back jumper that cut Atlanta’s lead to 62–54.
Next time on court, Williams did a pick-and-roll job with Clint Capella, going for a dunk that Antetokounmpo tried to fight. The Bucks star landed awkwardly and went down into the pile, grabbing his left knee while a hush fell on the arena.
The entire Milwaukee bench turned out to examine Antetokounmpo, who was to be helped into the locker room, diagnosed as having a hyperextended knee. He briefly returned to the bench, but never returned to the court, headed to the locker room for good when the Hawks opened the game.
Atlanta defeated the Bucks 25-8 for the rest of the quarter to take an 87-62 lead.
Budenholzer is confident his team will play better next time – with or without Antetokounmpo.
The coach said, ‘We have to do better at both ends. “Our group will gather. The character will come through. “
The Hawks led 51–38 at halftime, placing the Bucks in their lowest-scoring half of the postseason.
Milwaukee made only 14 of 41 shots from the field – including 5 of 23 shots – with nine turnovers to go.
Two nights after reaching his career playoff high with 38 points in a Game 3 win, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton was restricted to 16 points in a 6-17 shootout.
He missed all seven of his three-point attempts.
With Young out, the Hawks needed some less used players to step up.
There was no one bigger than Cam Radish.
In his second appearance since February, Reddish scored 12 points, pulled down five rebounds and came up with two steals.
The Redds missed the final 42 games of the regular season with an Achilles injury and the first two rounds of the playoffs. His first appearance since February 21 came during the garbage time of Milwaukee’s thumping win in Game 2.
Arriving less than seven minutes into the game in the first wave of substitutions, Radish had a huge role to play in Game 4. Playing his third game in the playoffs, Chris Dunn joined them and had only his seventh game in the entire season.
free throw crisis
The crowd mocked him mercilessly, counting the seconds he took to shoot, as Antetokounmpo missed all three of his free throws in the first half.
In fact, he hit the rim on only one of them, with Atlanta fans teasing him even louder.
Bucks: Milwaukee’s lowest-scoring first half of the regular season was a 31-point effort in Philadelphia on March 17. They won that game 109–105 in overtime. … The Bucks had scored no fewer than 41 points in the half during the playoffs. … Zoo Holiday was the top scorer with 19 points.
Hawks: Milwaukee’s 38-point half was the lowest in a playoff game since Atlanta held Boston at 33 in 2016. … Hawks came out spreading the ball around. Four players were on the first 10 points. … After taking an elbow in the closing minutes, Capella was helped into the locker room with a towel over his face. The extent of his injury was not known.
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