The Atlanta Hawks and their fairytale season continued after Trae Young's monster performance inspired a 116-113 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Seeded fifth in the NBA playoffs in the east, the Hawks – who sacked head coach Lloyd Pierce in March following a 14-20 start to the season – upstaged top seeds the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday to reach the Conference Final for the first time since 2015.
The Hawks – amid the second-longest active drought without reaching the NBA Finals (59 straight seasons entering this year) – produced another shock result to tame Giannis Antetokounmpo and the third-seeded Bucks in Wednesday's series opener.
Young put on a show, erupting for a game-high 48 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to lead the high-flying Hawks in Milwaukee midweek.
WITH THE SHIMMY. pic.twitter.com/h6SmlIoB4U— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 24, 2021
Entering the contest, All-Star Young had been averaging 29.1 points and 10.4 assists per game in the playoffs. No player in NBA history has finished a single postseason averaging 28.0-plus points and 10.0-plus assists (minimum 10 games played), according to Stats Perform.
John Collins (23 points and 15 rebounds) and Clint Capela (12 points and 19 rebounds) also contributed double-doubles as the Hawks used a 34-26 third quarter to pull clear of the Bucks away from home.
Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo and star team-mate Jrue Holiday flexed their muscles for the Bucks, but it was not enough against the Hawks.
Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, while All-Star Holiday finished with 33 points and 10 assists.
Khris Middleton had at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in each of his last two games. The last four players to do that in back-to-back games prior to Middleton (regular season or postseason) were Ron Harper (1994), Scottie Pippen (1991), Clyde Drexler (1989) and Charles Barkley (1986).
However, Middleton was just six-for-23 shooting for 15 points, five rebounds and four assists at home to the Hawks.
Suns at Clippers
The Western Conference Finals heads to Staples Center as the reeling Los Angeles Clippers host the red-hot Phoenix Suns, who lead 2-0.