The Milwaukee Bucks were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals, 116-113 on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks have some technical adjustments to make on both ends of the floor, but relatively speaking, I am feeling fine after dropping the first win. The good news? They can get a bucket in the paint whenever they want. The bad? If they do not clean up their issues on the glass...they could be in for another dogfight.
Where We’re At
Surviving a GOAT-like effort from Kevin Durant in all seven games and then losing to the Hawks on Wednesday was frustrating. However, Trae Young had a career-high performance of 48 points while handing out 11 assists. The Bucks went small in the fourth period and Giannis Antetokounmpo got switched on to him multiple times defensively. Trae had zero interest in driving to the basket on him and settled for 30-footers. Good news! Unfortunately, the Bucks were unable to capitalize off missed shots and continued to give the Hawks second, and even third looks at the basket.
While both teams shot poorly from deep, many of Milwaukee’s misses were of the WIDE-OPEN variety. We have seen this be the Achilles heel for the Bucks for three postseasons in a row. Giannis was dominant in the paint, dropping 34/12/9 and they also got a huge game offensively from Jrue Holiday who scored 33 points and dished out 10 assists. Holiday did struggle mightily at times defensively, something I am sure he is not to happy about with himself. Khris Middleton struggled, shooting 6-of-23 from the field for only 15 points.
It was Atlanta’s starting unit that gave the Bucks problems...John Collins added 23 points and 15 rebounds and he was a huge reason why ATL was able to steal game one because of his hustle on the boards. Clint Capela added 12/19 and Kevin Huerter scored 13. In all, The Hawks finished with only six more rebounds than the Bucks, however, the majority of them came when it mattered most and the Bucks went small. If the Bucks go small again tonight, it will have to be a team effort on the glass, and Holiday and the guards MUST box out. Simple basketball principles!
Player To Watch
John Collins is one of the most athletic big men in the NBA and it was on full display on Wednesday. He is my player to watch because of how hard he fights on the glass and he created multiple problems for the Bucks. Not only is he a high flyer, but he can also hurt you with his shot too...just a very uniquely talented player. His off-the-backboard slam over Brook Lopez was certainly one of the highlights of the entire postseason. Five of his 15 rebounds came on the offensive glass, and if Milwaukee is going to let him outmuscle them once again...it will be hard for the Bucks to maintain a lead and pull away.
Game Two: Against Atlanta, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)
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