Hawks take Game 1 in Milwaukee, 116-113

The Atlanta Hawks have won their first Eastern Conference Final game since the franchise came to Atlanta.

For the third time this postseason, the Hawks also took Game 1 on the road, handing Milwaukee its first home loss of this year's playoffs on Wednesday night.

Trae Young's star shone bright again on the playoff stage. With his 48 points, Young became the fourth Atlanta Hawk to reach 40 points or more in a postseason game, joining Lou Hudson, Dominique Wilkins (five times) and Paul Millsap. He also added 11 assists and seven rebounds. 

"He just has that steel that these top players have in the league," Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan said of Young. "He was built for this part of the season. He's a fearless player. He's a confident player. Every second he's on the floor, he's giving it to you. He's giving it all he's got. His style of play was really built for this time of year."

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 23: Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks go after a loose ball during the second quarter in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum on June 23, 2021 in Milwau

The game wasn't without its ups and downs, with 13 lead changes and seven ties. The Hawks pulled ahead in the second half, ending the game on a 9-2 run.

But both teams were coming off seven-game series to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, and that showed early.

The Hawks were just 1 of 10 shooing beyond the arc in the first quarter.

"We're built for this," McMillan said. "I think we just needed to get our second wind."

For nearly four and a half minutes spanning the end of the first and start of the second period, the Bucks capitalized on momentum, ripping off a 17-7 run to take a 32-25 lead.

Like much of the playoffs, though, Atlanta wasn't phased. 

Trae Young reached 20 points in a single half for the seventh time this postseason and 25 points for the third time, adding 25 points in the first half. 

But the Hawks had a hard time defending inside, with 42 first-half points in the paint for the Bucks, who led at halftime, 59-54.

By midway through the third, Young hit the 30-point mark for the seventh time in his 13 postseason games. At the 7:47 mark in the third, he tied things up at 67-67. Led by Young, Atlanta's offense began clicking, outscoring Milwaukee 34-26.

The Hawks entered the fourth with a 88-85 advantage, but the Bucks reclaimed the lead led by Giannis Antetokounmpo with under five minutes to play.

John Collins had his fourth double-double of the postseason by the fourth quarter. All of those double-double performances occurred in the last five games.

Clint Capela reached double digits in rebounds for the 10th time in 13 playoff games this postseason in the fourth quarter, and he set a new career playoff high with 19 rebounds.

"I don't think there is a ceiling on this team," Young said. "It's my favorite team I've been a part of. It's definitely a unique group."

"We believe in each other. We're confident. Everyone seems to be fearless on this stage, and he's the ringleader of that," guard Kevin Huerter said of Young.

"You can't listen to the outside noise, good or bad, we know that. The next game is going to be even harder, and we're going to have to play even better to win," McMillan said. "We're just going to try to continue to come out and be better than we were in our last outing."

Game 2 is Friday night at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum at 8:30 p.m.

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