The former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, famously said these words while describing counter-terrorism intelligence: “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.” Later on, it was announced the Atlanta Hawks star, Trae Young, would sit out due to a bruised ankle. No one knew how the Hawks would play without their floor general. No one knew what backup point guard, the professional scorer, and the sixth man Lou Williams would do. However, those questions were answered, emphatically, as the Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 110-88, leveling the series at 2.
Heading into tonight’s Game Four, down 2-1 to the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks swingman Cam Reddish warmed up extensively before the fans were allowed into the building, working up a considerable sweat in the process. The fans have demanded to see what Reddish could give the team, especially on the defensive end, throughout the postseason. Reddish saw his first action since February 21. The former Duke standout missed the final 42 games of the regular season with an Achilles injury and the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Reddish’s defense on Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton was outstanding at time. The Bucks’s star guard was held to 16 points tonight after going off for 38 points in game three.
“He has length, and he takes pride in defending,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said of Reddish’s play. “He’s one of the few guys in this league that actually, that’s his game. That’s where he draws his energy from.”
Reddish had 12 points in 23 minutes. The aforementioned Williams scored 21 points, dished out eight assists and pulled down five rebounds, as he deputized for Young in the backcourt. Six Hawks were in double figures Tuesday night.
“Everybody played with confidence. Everybody played at a high level,” Williams said. “Going back to Milwaukee, we’re going to have to bottle it up and take it with us.”
With 7:13 remaining in the third, Giannis Antetokounpo contested a dunk attempt by the Hawks’ Clint Capela and he fell awkwardly onto the floor. As the crowd hushed, Antetokounpo would require assistance in his attempt to leave the court.
Giannis was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a hyper-extended left knee. He is expected to undergo an MRI on Wednesday. Before exiting the game, Antetokounmpo had 14 points and 8 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
As soon as he exited, the Hawks raced out to a 12-2 run and would build an 87-62 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to be better on both ends,” Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Our group will gather. The character will come through.”
Before the injury, Antetokounpo air-balled two free throw attempts after being taunted mercilessly by the sellout crowd at State Farm Arena.
Tuesday’s win ensured there would be playoff basketball in Atlanta in the month of July. They’ll head back to Milwaukee 2-2 instead of being down 3-1.
“Yeah, in a lot of [ways] … 2-2 is a lot different than 3-1,” Hawks guard Kevin Huerter said. “We know we’re guaranteed again to be playing at home in front of our own crowd, and yeah, definitely, 2-2 is a similar position we were in last series.”
As the unprecedented 2020-2021 season continues, Hawks fans left the game openly pondering if (and only if), this team could play for the NBA championship. Regardless as to what happens in game five, Saturday night’s game six will have high levels of exuberant passion and fandom on display as the Hawks continue to mesmerize the city of Atlanta. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 PM.