A challenging game for Atlanta as they take a loss to the Bucks 118-107. In what was a gritty and sloppy game that Atlanta never led, the Hawks simply could not outduel the Bucks without a healthy Trae Young.
It was evident that Trae Young was not prepared to re-appear on the court, which isn’t his fault. Young’s ankle was not ready to go, therefore he couldn’t get the lift required for his floaters and alley-oops, leading to an awful night from the field (4/17, 0/6 from three). Young is a liability on the defensive end of the ball, and he was helping his team in no way on the offensive end. Why was he in the game for 35 minutes? Lou Williams played 12 minutes, and although he wasn’t efficient in those 11 minutes (0/3 FG%), he requires time to heat up, and Nate McMillan should know that Lou has a higher chance of doing so than an injured Trae Young.
The ball-handling and playmaking for both teams were abysmal (Hawks: 16 turnovers, Bucks: 14 turnovers), but if the Hawks could’ve gotten their act together, they would’ve preserved multiple possessions. The same goes for offensive rebounds. Each team was stellar at forcing their way into the paint, boxing out, and snatching offensive boards (Bucks: 12 OREB, Hawks: 13 OREB). If Atlanta would’ve had more bodies to the basketball and gang rebounded, their chances for winning increase dramatically. Offensive rebounds don’t just score points (23 second-chance points for Milwaukee), they create momentum for the opposing team, which was exactly the case for the Bucks. Pat Connaughton or P.J. Tucker would fly in for an offensive rebound and get the putback or dish it out for an open three-pointer, as Connaughton did for an open Jeff Teague.
In addition to Trae’s injury, Kevin Huerter was not himself either. He went 2/10 from the floor and 1/6 from three and was pulled to the bench for Cam Reddish who balled out with 21 points going 6/7 from three.
Without a doubt, I couldn’t be happier for the Hawks and the city of Atlanta. A team that started poorly, hired a new coach midseason, and accumulated many haters and doubters throughout the season for the way that they played basketball. They proved all the skeptics wrong, and they went out with a fight.