Bucks Outlast the Hawks in Game 3
KL Chouinard @KLChouinard
A cruel twist of fate kept the Hawks from finishing Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the manner that they had hoped to end it.
Trae Young planted his right foot to change direction with 29.3 seconds left in the third quarter, and in doing so, stepped onto the foot of a sideline referee and twisted his ankle. Young, who had scored 32 points to that point, left the game and went to the locker room.
When he returned with 8:44 left in the game, Trae did not have his characteristic first-step burst, and the Hawks' offense stalled without him being able to shoulder his usual late-game load.
While the Hawks struggled late, Khris Middleton had a brilliant fourth quarter for the Bucks, scoring 20 of his 38 points on a barrage of midrange shots and three-pointers to carry the Bucks to victory.
"It's frustrating. It's hurting a little bit, and it's sore," Trae said afterward. "I got some treatment on it. I'm going to go get some more in the morning. That's all I can do right how is get treatment. When I came back in, it was just kind of sore. It made me mad. I couldn't really go as fast as I wanted to, and then when I did, it hurt."
"Hopefully, it feels better before the next game."
Trae said that the injury limited his burst at the end of the game.
"It's really just my blow-by speed," he said. "That's a big part of my game. When you're on the left side and you're trying to blow by, you've got to use your right foot."
In addition to generating more offense late in the game, the Bucks held a large edge on the glass, 50-35, and they had 18 second-chance points compared to the Hawks' 13.
Nate McMillan liked the shots that the team took in down the stretch.
"We had open looks in the 4th quarter and just didn't knock down those shots."
The Hawks played a spirited first half, generating good looks from three and providing a counter-adjustment to the defensive tweaks that the Bucks made in Game 2. As a team, the Hawks made 10 of 22 threes in the first half.
Danilo Gallinari had 18 points off the bench for the Hawks.
"It has been a tough season in terms of injuries for everybody, especially on this team, we've never played a game with a full squad, but everybody stepped up and we had a pretty good season – so we've been doing that."
A moment later, he added, "We need to keep doing that."
Stat of the Game:
Kevin Huerter finished the game with 11 points, 7 assists and 3 blocks. For the entirety of the playoffs, Huerter now ranks sixth with 15 total blocks. Every other player ranked in the top seven spots of the blocks leaderboard – Rudy Gobert, Brook Lopez, Kevin Durant, Clint Capela, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo – is 6-foot-10 or taller.
20-year-old rookie Onyeka Okongwu gave the Hawks an energetic performance in the middle in a reserve role. His played stellar defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo, and in his nine minutes he contributed four points, a block, and steal and this forced jump ball.
Highlight of the Game:
Trae Young spotted the Hawks to an early 10-2 edge with this 36-foot three-point shot.
Quote of the Game:
Kevin Huerter, on the approach going forward:
"We've still got a long series ahead of us. It's the first to four. That was kind of the message in the locker room: We've got to stay together. We will. Like I said, we've been in this position before last series and we figured out a way to get it done."
Next game info:
The Hawks and Bucks meet again in State Farm Arena for Game 4 Tuesday night (Limited tickets available here). The game airs at 8:30 PM ET on TNT.