Final score: Hawks 110, Bucks 88 — The Hawks ended up taking Game 4 with ease and the Eastern Conference Finals is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Thursday night in Milwaukee. The Bucks lost Giannis to a hyperextended left knee early in the third quarter and ATL took advantage, pulling away and easing to a big win. The Hawks were without superstar Trae Young, who missed the game due to a bone bruise in his foot. The Hawks were getting it done even before Giannis went down with injury. Now the series is completely up for grabs after Milwaukee appeared to be in control after two straight victories.
Update, fourth quarter — Clint Capela just hit a circus shot from behind the back board as the Hawks continue to lead in the fourth.
Update, third quarter — Antetokounmpo has been ruled out for the remainder of Game 4 vs. the Hawks, who have built up a 25-point lead heading into the final frame on Tuesday night. Atlanta has done it by committee with Young sidelined and Bogdan Bogdanovic stepped up big in the third quarter and has 18 points. It would appear we’re headed for a 2-2 tie in the ECF with Game 5 back in Milwaukee on Thursday night.
Update, third quarter — Giannis was forced to leave the game due to what looked like a knee injury and now the Hawks have jumped out to a commanding 74-54 lead with 4:16 left in the quarter. Antetokounmpo appeared to land awkwardly on his knee and had to be helped up before hobbling to the locker room.
The Atlanta Hawks will never go away. Just when you think this is the game in which the Hawks will falter, a game without their star PG Trae Young, they just keep coming at you. Down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Hawks are out to a 51-38 lead at halftime of Game 4 on Tuesday night in ATL. Young was ruled out due to a bad bone bruise in his foot and he’s on watching on the sidelines as his team put together an impressive half without him.
The Hawks have gotten contributions from a lot of players, including veteran Lou Williams, who leads ATL with 13 points at halftime filling in for Young in the starting lineup. Rookie Onyeka Okongwu has been great off the bench with 7 points. The Hawks are leading in the paint against someone who is supposed to be dominant in that area: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The two-time MVP only has 6 points at halftime. He hasn’t been aggressive at all and is back to missing free throws. It’s pretty baffling considering the spot the Bucks are in, a chance to go up 3-1 heading home to clinch a trip to the Finals while the other teams best player is banged up. Khris Middleton is back to missing shots, going 3-of-10 from the floor and 0-for-4 from long range in the first half.
Heading into Game 4, most of the bets (61 percent) were on the Bucks at -7 and -275 on the moneyline (63 percent). So the public is not faring very well through the first half. The live lines are fluctuating but have the Bucks as 3.5 point underdogs at the half. The Hawks are -167 on the moneyline while the Bucks are +133.
The feeling in the second half is that we should continue to see this Hawks team perform well. Maybe they slow down on offense a bit, but the defensive intensity is there down low and Clint Capela, John Collins and now Okongwu pose a threat to Giannis and Milwaukee, which lacks size. So while the Bucks definitely aren’t out of this game, can they get it together in the second half and overcome the Hawks crowd and team basketball. We’ll see.