KHRIS Middleton scored a game-high 38 points, including 20 during the fourth quarter, to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 113-102 win over the host Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night.
Middleton added 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Bucks seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for Milwaukee; Bobby Portis contributed 15 points off the bench; Jrue Holiday shot two of 11 but had a team-high 12 assists.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 35 points on 12-for-23 shooting, including six of 14 from beyond the arc. Danilo Gallinari (18 points), John Collins (13) and Kevin Huerter (11) also scored in double digits.
The Bucks outscored the Hawks (30-17) in the fourth quarter to win their second straight game.
Young sprained his right ankle in the last minute of the third quarter when he inadvertently stepped on an official’s foot. He limped to the locker room but returned to the game with 8:44 left in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks sharpshooter struggled to find his rhythm after returning, and the Bucks took advantage.
The Bucks had a 7-0 run to go up 82-80 with 1:47 left in the third, but the Hawks answered with two free throws from Young and a 3-pointer from Bogdan Bogdanović. Atlanta entered the fourth quarter with an 85-83 lead.
The score was tied at 56 at half time. Young led all scorers with 17 points at the break.
Atlanta opened the game on a 15-2 run that included a pair of dunks in transition by Clint Capela. Young added a 3-pointer from 36 feet and a floating jump shot during the early outburst.
Milwaukee pulled within 32-27 at the end of the first quarter as Middleton hit a pull-up jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining.
The Hawks led 56-46 with 2:39 left before intermission when Huerter drilled a 3-pointer off an assist from Young. But Milwaukee closed the half on a 10-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Pat Connaughton with 12.7 seconds to go, to erase the double-digit deficit.
The teams will remain in Atlanta, where Game 4 is set for Tuesday night. — Reuters