Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks have overcome the odds throughout the season, making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. After stealing Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road, the team has a real chance to reach the 2021 NBA Finals and potentially win a title.

Just as they did in the second round against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks entered their series with the Bucks as heavy underdogs. Atlanta defeated Milwaukee 116-113 in Game 1 on Wednesday, outscoring the Bucks 18-8 in the final four minutes. Young was spectacular, leading all players with 48 points and 11 assists. 

In his first postseason, Young is putting up historic numbers. No player had ever recorded at least 45 points and 10 assists in a conference finals game before Wednesday. Young is just the second player to average 30 points and 10 assists over a 13-game span in the playoffs.

Even as two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, it was Young who controlled Game 1. Young scored or assisted on 72 of the Hawks’ points, including 14 of their final 16 points.

 

 

 

“We gotta do a better job deep on him,” Antetokounmpo said after Game 1. “He is going to score getting downhill for the lobs, and that’s his confidence. I think we just got to make it as tough as possible for him, make him play a lot of one on one. But at the end of the day, he had 48 points, he’s a great player, like he is going to score with a punch.”

The New York Knicks and their No. 4 defensive rating had no answers for Young in the first round as the Hawks dismissed them in five games. Philadelphia earned the No. 1 seed in the East with the NBA’s second-ranked defense, but Young still managed to average 29.0 points and 10.9 assists in seven games against the 76ers.

Young has scored more than 20 points and dished out more than six assists in every Atlanta playoff game. The 22-year-old has proven himself to be a bonafide superstar, raising the Hawks’ ceiling as a team that can win the East.

Milwaukee opened the series as -500 betting favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Bucks’ odds have fallen below -200 in the wake of their Game 1 loss. Atlanta has +164 odds to win the series.

After the Hawks lost two of their first three games in the second round, they were given +10000 odds to win the title. Those championship odds have moved to +700.

Atlanta is 6-2 on the road this postseason. Game 2 is set for Friday night in Milwaukee.

Clint Capela_Trae Young_Atlanta Hawks 2021 Atlanta Hawks all-star Trae Young (L) high-fives Clint Capela (R) during one of their wins in the 2020-2021 NBA season. Photo: Atlanta Hawks/Twitter