The Bucks roll in the first half, confuse the Hawks to tie the series 1-1 | WFRV Local 5
MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Bucks knew the key to leveling the Eastern Conference Finals was to make sure Trae Young didn’t get the upper hand.
They did all of that and more on Friday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points, Jrue Holiday added 22 and the Bucks beat the Atlanta Hawks 125-91 in Game 2.
Young struggled for much of the night after finishing with 48 points and 11 assists in the Hawks’ 116-113 win in Game 1.
“The last game, he was living in the paint, had a lot of floats (and) those are pretty much layups for him,” Holiday said. “We didn’t really want this to get him started early. And I don’t think he’s gone to the free throw line much tonight, which is important enough for us as well.
Young scored 15 points but tied the worst of his career with nine turnovers before leaving the game for good with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter. He shot 6 of 16 overall, 1 of 8 on 3-point attempts and 2 of 3 on free throws.
“I take full responsibility for what happened tonight,” Young said. “Taking care of the ball is something I have to be better at. I will be better. It’s really that they just upped their physique tonight. We have to do the same.
The Bucks never trailed, scored 20 straight points late in the second quarter and led by at least 30 points throughout the second half. Both teams let their starters rest for the entire fourth quarter.
This is the third straight series in which the Hawks have lost Game 2 after winning Game 1 on the road. These Game 2 losses were decided by a total of 59 points.
The series travels to Atlanta for Game 3 on Sunday.
“We have to play harder,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. “The intensity with which they came out did not surprise us. But they have shown that there is another level that we must reach. They totally dominated the whole game.
Young said he doesn’t believe the Bucks schematically did anything different to slow him down on Friday. He believed the Bucks were just playing more aggressively and benefiting from the way the game was called.
“When they’re aggressive and (officials) don’t call them, nights like tonight happen,” Young said.
Milwaukee intended to make life difficult for Young two nights after the Bucks lost a seven-point lead in the final four minutes of Game 1. Young’s performance in Game 1 made him the first player in the game. history with at least 45 points and 10 assists in a conference finals game.
Young made eight turnovers in the first half alone. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton agreed that the Bucks’ aggression made a difference.
“It was a huge key from Game 1 to Game 2,” said Middleton. “Game 1, they were able to get everything they wanted on the pitch. Trae would get into the paint, throw those lobs, and get everyone involved. Tonight we wanted to set the tone and make sure they weren’t comfortable. “
Brook Lopez scored 16 points for the Bucks. Middleton had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Antetokounmpo had nine rebounds and six assists.
Danilo Gallinari had 12 points and John Collins and Cam Reddish each added 11 for the Hawks.
Milwaukee took the lead in the opening minutes as Antetokounmpo continually reached the edge for easy baskets. The Bucks already had a double-digit lead before launching a 20-0 run late in the second quarter to open the game.
“We know what we have to do,” Antetokounmpo said. “Everyone knew we had to come here and get this game. This is what we did from the first possession of the match.
Hawks: Reddish played 17 minutes in his first game since February 21 with an Achilles tendon injury. … Young had at least 20 points and seven assists in each of the Hawks’ 13 playoff games leading up to Friday. He is the first player to accumulate at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first 13 career playoff games. … Reserve forward Nathan Knight made it to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter. Knight had landed on his back after blocking a shot.
Bucks: The Bucks shot 52.1%, the first time they’ve shot more than 50% in this playoff. … Antetokounmpo’s untimely exit due to an imbalanced score resulted in the end of his six-game franchise record streak in which he had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. The last player to have at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in six straight playoff games was Shaquille O’Neal in 2002.… The Bucks improved to 12-3 in playoff games at Fiserv Forum.