Last night the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 121-106. It was the second time Atlanta beat the Eastern Conference's best team in seven days. However, an important caveat is the Bucks' injuries. Below are our five biggest takeaways from Monday night's matchup in Milwaukee.
Following last week's win over the Bucks, Giannis Antetokpounmpo complimented Atlanta's frontcourt and said he enjoyed playing against them. It is no secret that Atlanta's big men match up nicely against the 2x NBA MVP.
One of the main reasons for Atlanta's ability to contain Antetokounmpo is Clint Capela. After a disappointing season last year, the 28-year-old is enjoying a return to form. Last night, Capela scored 19 points and grabbed ten rebounds in 30 minutes of action. It was another huge performance from Capela.
While Atlanta's big men excelled in Milwaukee, the backcourt continues to struggle shooting the ball. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray shot a combined 13-33 from the floor.
Those shooting splits are on par with Murray's career averages. However, it's the worst stretch of Young's career. There is still no need to panic about Young. It would benefit the team if they had some floor spacing. Last year, they had Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari, and a healthy Bogdan Bogdanovic. It's having an impact on Young's game.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan played all of his staters for over 30+ minutes. McMillan is a fan of riding the Hawks hand (look back at AJ Griffin's 24-point game against Milwaukee last week).
However, the bench unit played well in limited action. Atlanta's bench shot 55% from the field and was a net-positive. With Bogdanovic's return nowhere in sight, the bench unit must find a way to produce in the meantime.
While on the topic of the bench, we would be remiss if we did not point out the playing time AJ Griffin has received so far this season. The rookie has already logged more time on the court (126 minutes) than Jalen Johnson (120 minutes) did last year.
That level of on-the-job training isn't uncommon, but it is valuable to a young player. Sure, Griffin scored seven points on 50% shooting last night. Offense is not his weak spot. More importantly, Griffin looked capable on defense against the injury-riddled Bucks.
If you haven't picked up on the underlining theme of this article, it is to be careful about drawing too many conclusions from last night's game. It is easy to look like giant killers when the Bucks are without multiple key starters.
However, Atlanta cannot control other teams' injuries - they have to play their opponent. Last night, Atlanta's defense looked good. As a result, they have the eighth-best defensive rating in the NBA this morning.
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