Atlanta Wakes Up, Bucks and Suns Regain The Lead

Atlanta recorded its first win over Miami in the NBA playoffs on Friday thanks to a basket in the final moments by Trae Young, during a night that sawbucks and Suns, 2021 finalists, regain the lead against Chicago and New Orleans.

Thanks to their 111-110 success, the Hawks are only led 2-1 in their first-round NBA playoff series (played in the best of seven games) against the Miami Heat.

They had lost their first two games. With a floater scored four seconds before the final whistle after a missed shot by the Floridians, point guard Trae Young gave his team the win.

“I just wanted to go to the basket,” said the player, owner of 24 points for his team. “I knew there were only 10 seconds left to play, and I didn’t want to set up a system for a three-point shot. So, I tried to go to the circle, to get a foul or make a lay-up.”

After taking a 21-0 lead in the third quarter, which allowed the Heat to lead 84-68, the Hawks appeared headed for a third straight loss.

“‘We must not lose this game: that’s what I had in mind throughout the game, and that’s how we played, especially in the last quarter,” said Bogan Bogdanovic, who scored 18 points off the bench for Atlanta, and who scored three three-point baskets in the final period.

“The way we played, without letting go of anything before the end, it shows the character of this team,” Bogdanovic said. With his teammates, he will try to bring the series back to a 2-2 tie on Sunday, still at home.

In Chicago, the defending champions Bucks regained a 2-1 lead in their series, making only one bite of the Bulls, swept 30 points 111-81.

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Owner of 41 points to give his team the victory and the equalization at 1-1 in Game N.2, the star of the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan, was limited Friday night to 11 points, with a pitiful 4/11 shooting.

On the Bucks side, it was a substitute, Grayson Allen, who finished top scorer, with 22 points scored to compensate for the absence –at least until the end of the series– of Khris Middleton, the lieutenant of the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo (18 pts, 7 rbds, 9 assists).

Also, without a major player, Devin Booker, who was hit in the right hamstring, the Suns won 114-111 in New Orleans, taking control of their series 2-1.

“We knew that we would play without our best player with the absence of ‘Book’ and that we would all have to be up to the task,” commented after the game the leader Chris Paul, owner of a great game: 28 points, including 19 in the last quarter, 14 assists, no lost ball.

“I’m happy we won,” added the Suns veteran, well supported by pivot Deandre Ayton (28 pts, 17 rbds).

Unfortunate finalists against the Bucks in 2021, the Suns have had a remarkable season, concluding with the regular season’s best record (64 wins – 18 losses).

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