Hawks Could Not Escape Early Game 5 Deficit
KL Chouinard @KLChouinard
Milwaukee landed the first punch in Game 5, and the Hawks never recovered.
The Bucks dominated the first half of the first quarter. In the game's first six minutes, Milwaukee made 9 of 13 shots and rebounded all four of the shots that they missed as they raced out to an early 22-7 lead.
The Hawks fought hard to close the gap for the other 42 minutes, but the damage was done.
"They punched us in the face right away," Bogdan Bogdanovic said, "and we couldn't find the rhythm."
Bogdanovic led the comeback efforts with 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 0 turnovers, but the best player on the floor for either team was center Brook Lopez, who had 33 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks for Milwaukee.
In addition to controlling the painted area with dunks and well-timed blocks, Lopez held his own when the Bucks opted for a defensive strategy where they switched defenders in pick-and-roll coverages. When Lopez ended up on a smaller player, he kept his feet moving and used his size to his advantage.
Trae Young missed a second consecutive game with a bone bruise in his right foot, and his ability to compromise defenses with dribble penetration – especially a switching defense – was missed.
The Bucks also received strong performances from Jrue Holiday (25 points, 13 assists) and Khris Middleton (26 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists).
The Hawks chipped away at the Milwaukee lead on a number of occasions, at one point shrinking the deficit to six points early in the third quarter. In the end, though, the task of digging out from an early 15-point deficit proved to be too much.
John Collins had 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari had 19 points in 23 minutes for the Hawks.
Trailing in the series by a 3-2 margin, the series returns to State Farm Arena where the Hawks face a must-win Game 6.
Bogdanovic likes the Hawks' mindset in spite of the pressure.
“I know we are fearless and we are tough, so we will respond."
Stat of the Game:
Bogdan Bogdanovic set a personal playoff career high in Game 4 with six made threes. In Game 5, Bogdanovic topped that mark by making seven threes. He was one away from tying the franchise record set by Mookie Blaylock in 1997.
Highlight of the game
The Hawks stayed within striking distance for most of the game via the three-point shot. With a total of 43 threes in the past three games, the Hawks are shooting from long distance as well as they have at any stretch during the postseason. Here, John Collins and Clint Capela get in on some big-to-big passing, and they prove once again that sometimes the most dangerous shooter is the one throwing the inbound pass.
Easy passes can lead to greatness. pic.twitter.com/0IfbCF7D5D
— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) July 2, 2021
Cam Reddish continued a successful return from injury deep in the postseason. In 23 minutes, Reddish contributed 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. Perhaps more importantly, he guarded ball handlers well on a night when that was not the Hawks' strongest suit.
Quote of the game:
John Collins, on the team coming out flat to start the game:
"There's no specific reason. It's basketball. It's an up-and-down game. You can't really predict what's going to happen – not to say that we didn't prepare to come out and play a way. Some nights – like I said, no excuses on why – it just wasn't there. They capitalized off it. We tried. We played hard to come back the rest of the game, but as I said before, we just couldn't get that lead. It's just hard to fight back against a good team."
Next game info:
The Hawks and Bucks meet again at State Farm Arena for Saturday's Game 6 at 8:30 PM ET. Buy tickets here.