The Hawks-Bucks sequence might proceed on without two of the East’s largest stars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went down in Game 4 with a hyperextended left knee, two days after Trae Young suffered a bone bruise on his right foot that sidelined him for Tuesday evening’s matchup in Atlanta.
Even without Young’s offensive presence, the Hawks rallied to even the conference finals series 2-2, in a 110-88 Game 4 win.
It was a nightmare night for the Bucks, who wilted without their greatest participant because the Hawks thrived without theirs on the opposite finish of the courtroom.
A prognosis is pending on the two-time MVP’s left knee, and the Bucks mentioned he’ll endure additional imaging on Wednesday.
Antetokounmpo, earlier than the knee harm, was already coping with left calf with tightness, which listed him as possible on the Bucks harm report for Games 3 and 4. He had a timid first half, scoring simply six factors to go together with two air-balls from the free-throw line. He completed the evening with 14 factors.
Young’s standing continues to be up within the air for Game 5 on Thursday in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo suffered the scary harm while defending Hawks heart Clint Capela with 7:14 remaining within the third quarter. He landed awkwardly on his left knee, which appeared to buckle, and instantly fell to the ground, clutching his knee in ache.
That’s when Atlanta rallied and went on 25-8 run to command a 87-62 lead over Milwaukee, which shot 5-for-23 from past the arc. The Bucks additionally dedicated 9 turnovers.
The latter half of the sport would rely closely on a training battle between Atlanta’s Nate McMillan and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer — and McMillan finally received the competition.
The former Pacers coach, together with a mixed 41 factors by Lou Williams (21) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (20), have been the recipe for Atlanta’s Game 4 victory. Williams, who’s been a pressure off the bench of Atlanta, began rather than Young.
McMillan made changes in Young’s absence, while preaching the Hawks’ season mantra, “believe,” all through the sport — and the depth of Atlanta’s bench shined.
Capela added 15 factors while anchoring the protection, and Kevin Huerter added 15 factors.
Cam Reddish additionally impressed with 12 factors and confirmed flashes of improved confidence after lacking the ultimate 42 video games of the common season with an Achilles harm.
Meanwhile, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday’s efforts weren’t sufficient to avoid wasting the Bucks in Antetokounmpo’s absence. Middleton was held to 16 factors on 6-for-17 capturing, and he missed all seven of his 3-point makes an attempt.
All of a sudden, Milwaukee’s championship hopes hold within the steadiness.
After the Bucks’ Game 4 loss, Middleton expressed confidence in Milwaukee’s future, even when it means taking part in without Antetokounmpo.
“If he’s able to play, great. If not, we just got to be ready,” Middleton informed reporters after Game 4. “One game at time. That’s it.”
If Antetokounmpo is out for Game 5, the Bucks will want Middleton to be firing on all cylinders — like he did in Game 3 with a 38-point efficiency, together with 11 rebounds and 7 assists. They’ll additionally want a heavy offensive presence from Holiday and Bobby Portis, in addition to a troublesome defensive plan together with large males Tucker and Brook Lopez.
Perhaps most significantly, Budenholzer might want to regulate his offensive recreation plan to work across the absence of his greatest participant – one thing he did not do after Giannis went down.