Trae Young isn’t just making himself comfortable on the road. He’s raided the refrigerator, put on slippers and plopped himself on the couch with a cool beverage in his hand.
After putting forth memorable playoff performances in both New York and Philadelphia, Young looks to carry the momentum of his 48-point effort in the Eastern Conference finals opener into Game 2 against the host Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
Young notably quieted the crowd at Madison Square Garden and flustered the faithful at Wells Fargo Center before his shoulder shimmy went viral in the Hawks’ 116-113 win at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday. The 22-year-old memorably crossed up Jrue Holiday so badly in the third quarter that Young had time to add a little flair before casually draining a 3-pointer.
“If he shimmy, shimmy your little heart out,” John Collins said of Young on Thursday. “In the fourth quarter, he knows what time it is. … This is his stage; he’s been ready for this and he’s been waiting for this.”
Young’s point total was just two shy of the Hawks’ franchise record for a playoff game, set by Bob Pettit in 1958 and matched by fellow Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins in 1986.
Young has benefited from double screens and high pick-and-rolls to score at least 30 points in six road playoff games this spring. Fifth-seeded Atlanta has won the opener of all three of its best-of-seven series on the road and sports a 6-2 record away from home in the playoffs.
Collins collected 23 points and 15 rebounds on Wednesday and Clint Capela had 12 and 19, respectively, for Atlanta.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was limited by a sore knee, however. He finished with four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the floor.
“I feel amazing, especially after the win last night,” Bogdanovic said Thursday, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “… It is what it is. I don’t want to just talk about the knee and stuff. I feel like I did my job as far as I can.”
While the Hawks appeared comfortable in the opener, the third-seeded Bucks were put on edge while sustaining their first home loss of the postseason. Milwaukee will now be tasked with looking to avert a 2-0 deficit for the second straight series.
Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in the opener and Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists. The two combined to make 28 of 50 shot attempts, but the rest of the Bucks were just 19 for 52 from the floor.
“There was some good stuff particularly from Jrue and Giannis, two-man game,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We need everybody to participate, and I think everybody will just continue to get better going into the second game.”
Khris Middleton misfired on 17 of 23 attempts from the floor and all nine tries from 3-point range on Wednesday. The Bucks made just 8 of 36 attempts from 3-point range.
Holiday made his fifth 3-pointer to give Milwaukee a 105-98 lead with 4:18 to play before Atlanta rallied to victory.
–Field Level Media