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Bucks, Middleton wake up in fourth

by The Associated Press | June 28, 2021 at 2:08 a.m.
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) disputes a foul called by a referee during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA -- Khris Middleton scored 20 of his playoff career high-tying 38 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 113-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Trae Young scored 35 points for Atlanta but was slowed in the final period after injuring his right ankle after stepping on an official's foot late in the third.

Middleton then scored 10 points in a 13-3 run in the fourth that gave Milwaukee the lead.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points for the Bucks, who trailed most of the game before surging in the fourth quarter. Atlanta led 95-88 before Middleton made his first of 3 three-pointers during the 13-3 run for a 103-98 lead.

After never leading in a 125-91 Game 2 loss, the Hawks were eager for a better start in their first home game of the series. Turnovers by Middleton and Antetokounmpo led to dunks by Clint Capela, and Kevin Huerter added a three-pointer for a 7-0 lead.

The Hawks stretched the advantage to 13 points. Antetokounmpo was held to five first-quarter points but regained his scoring form in the second period. He had 11 points in the period as the Bucks finally pulled even at 56-all on a three-pointer by Pat Connaughton with 12 seconds remaining in the half.

The Bucks took their first lead at 82-80 on a basket by Bobby Portis Jr. (Little Rock Hall, Arkansas Razorbacks) with 1:47 remaining in the third. Portis finished with 15 points. A three-pointer by Danilo Gallinari gave Atlanta an 85-83 lead at the end of the period.

Middleton opened the final period by sinking a three-pointer that signaled the start of his big period. He went on to outscore the Hawks, who had 17 points, by himself.

Hawks fans followed the recent trend of opposing fans counting Antetokounmpo's time at the free throw line, usually counting past 10 before he launched an attempt.

Fans cheered when he missed each of his first two free throws in the first quarter. He threw an airball from the line in the second period, again earning cheers from the sellout crowd.

Antetokounmpo was only 6 of 13 for the game.

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) dribbles against Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) dribbles against Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) celebrates after scoring a three-point basket during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) celebrates after scoring a three-point basket during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' John Collins (20) blocks a shot by Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' John Collins (20) blocks a shot by Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Clint Capela (15) attempts to block the ball against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Clint Capela (15) attempts to block the ball against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) rebounds the ball against Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton (22) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) rebounds the ball against Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton (22) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) shoots and scores during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) shoots and scores during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) scores against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) scores against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Milwaukee Bucks' P.J. Tucker (17) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) react to a play during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Milwaukee Bucks' P.J. Tucker (17) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) react to a play during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela fouls Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, left, during the second quarter in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela fouls Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, left, during the second quarter in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Print Headline: Bucks, Middleton wake up in fourth

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