Hawks fall without Trae
I watched highlights of this game repeatedly trying to figure out where exactly the Hawks went wrong. I did not find a smoking gun. Several things went wrong. At first, I thought it was the absence of Trae Young, however, we were able to win without him in the previous game. I finally came to one conclusion: Clint Capela was not healthy enough to play last night.
Previously listed as questionable for this game, Capela was struck in the eye by Sam Merrill under the hoop in a previous bout with the Bucks. Capela was deemed healthy enough to play in Game Five and did just that, or tried to at least.
The regular season ‘rebound king’ was totally absent under the hoop last night, while Brook Lopez seemed to be everywhere at once. Clint was slow. He lacked the urgency to guard Brook Lopez when he got the ball in or near the paint. Clint Capela appeared tired and hurt last night. Atlanta would have fared better if they gave Okongwu the start.
This loss is only partially a result of Capela’s performance. The Hawks totaled a whopping 14 turnovers last night, which obviously played a huge role in the outcome of the game. Capela aside, the rest of the defense was not there last night. Lack of rebounding got the Hawks into trouble early, and it was a hole they could not dig themselves out of. There were moments in the first quarter where the Bucks would get two or three offensive rebounds before inevitably putting the ball in the hoop. Atlanta’s transition defense was too slow, especially in the beginning, and it cost Atlanta big time.
The largest deficit in Q1 was 20 points with 3 mins remaining in the quarter. Atlanta closed the gap somewhat down the stretch, but not enough to come close to making this a contest. As a Hawks fan, this one was difficult to watch.
Standout performances from the Hawks
Yesterday was another solid outing for Bogdan (Bogi) Bogdanovic. Last night’s most valuable Hawk, Bogi put up 28 points, five rebounds, and four assists. John Collins did his job as well, with 19 points, eight rebounds, while hitting some clutch threes to try to cut into Milwaukee’s lead.
Gallinari came off the bench hot. He put up 19 points in 23 minutes and was a solid defensive weapon against the deer. Additionally, Lou Williams proved, yet again, that he is a viable backup for Atlanta’s superstar, Trae Young. Lou was the first Hawk to score a bucket last night and put up a respectable 17 points and five assists.
Milwaukee Shines without Giannis
Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Khris Middleton stomped the Hawks last night. They gained momentum early on with a clutch blocked shot from Brook Lopez on Kevin Huerter. This block turned into an easy layup for Jrue Holiday, and the deer never looked back. They dominated and never let the lead slip from tip-off to the final buzzer.
Brook Lopez was the star of the show. The Bucks’ strategy was to run plays that put Lopez in a position to score. He was the core of their offense last night, and Atlanta was not ready for it. Dunks, alley-oops, steals. His impact on the game and building the lead they did is undeniable. Brook Lopez: 33 points, 14-18 FG, seven rebounds, two steals, four blocks.
Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis also had notable, standout performances. Khris contributed 26 points on 10-20 shooting, and also had 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a block. Portis on the other hand had a beautiful fastbreak dunk that made the highlight reel and got the commentators fired up. His stat line was 22 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
Overall, this was a dominating win for Milwaukee. I expect Atlanta to make adjustments and bounce back in Game 6. This series will be decided by Game 7, which will be played in Milwaukee on Monday, July 5.