The Atlanta Hawks proved they are more than a one-man team, shaking off Trae Young’s absence with a freak injury to even the Eastern Conference finals with a 110-88 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
And in another stunning twist to a series no one saw coming, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo hobbled off the court with an injured left knee, depriving the Bucks of their best player.
Lou Williams did a stellar job filling in for Young with 21 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic broke a series-long slump with 20, and the Hawks pulled away in the third quarter to tie the series at two wins apiece.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Milwaukee.
Young was declared out about 45 minutes before tipoff, having sustained a bone bruise when he twisted his right ankle stepping on an official’s foot along the sideline in Game 3. He watched from the bench in a black warmup suit, barely noticeable with a hood over his head and a mask across his face.
Turns out, he wasn’t needed.
After a dismal first half for Antetokounmpo, who was held to six points and chunked up a pair of airballs from the free-throw line, the Greek Freak came out firing in the third quarter.
He scored eight points in the first four and a half minutes more than he managed in the entire first half and sliced Atlanta’s lead to 62-54 with a step-back jumper.
But, the next time down the court, Williams worked a pick-and-roll with Clint Capela, who went up for a dunk that Antetokounmpo tried to contest. The Bucks star landed awkwardly and went down in a heap, grasping at his left knee while a hush fell over the arena.
The entire Milwaukee bench came out to check on Antetokounmpo, who had to be helped to the locker room with what was diagnosed as a hyperextended knee. He returned briefly to the bench but never made it back to the court, heading to the locker room for good when the Hawks blew the game open.
Atlanta outscored the Bucks 25-8 the rest of the quarter to seize a commanding 87-62 lead.
The Hawks led 51-38 at halftime, holding the Bucks’ to their lowest-scoring half of the postseason.
Milwaukee made only 14 of 41 shots from the field including 5 of 23 beyond the arc to go along with nine turnovers.