by Japheth Bandi
MILWAUKEE -- Trae Young scored a career-high 48 points and the Atlanta Hawks drew first blood in the East Conference by beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 on Thursday at the Fiserv Forum.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard swished 17 of 34 from the field and 4-of-13 from long distance. He also had 10 free throws along with 11 assists and seven rebounds. The only wrinkle in his 41-minute performance was six turnovers.
John Collins added 23 points and 15 rebounds while Clint Capela pitched in 12 points and 19 boards. Kevin Huerter added 13 points as Atlanta notched its sixth road victory in eight trips this postseason.
While the Hawks provided got plenty of reninforcement to upset the No.3 seeded Bucks, who were eight-point favorites, it was clear that Young was the undisputed leader of the No.5 seed in the East --- Trae Young.
"He's is calling most of the plays and I want that because I want him to have a feel of what's going on, how to get his teammates involved, and he's done a really good job doing that," Hawks head coah Nate McMillan told reporters after his team move ahead 1-0 in this best-of-seven series.
With a smaller lineup that parades a player no taller than 6-foot-10 Clint Capela, the Hawks were beaten down the paint and outsocred, 70-54, but they out-rebounded Milwaukee, 51-45. The Hawks also went 47 of 93 from the field, a high 49.5 percent clip that made up for their 8-of-32 fare (25 percent) from 3-point range.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, shot just 46.1 percent from the field (47-of-102) and the 3-point shot that they have weaponized for much of these playoffs was virually non-existent, just 8-of-36 for 22.2 percent.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to led Milwaukee, Jrue Holiday belted out 33 and 10 assists but Khris Middleton struggled mightily and only accounted for 15 points while missing all nine of his nine 3-point attempts.
"I've just got to be better," said Middleton of his notable underperformance.
Game 2 returns to the Fiserv Forum on Saturday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 34 points.