Mike Budenholzer had no answers defensively in Game 1 to slow down Trae Young whatsoever.
Mike Budenholzer’s Milwaukee Bucks lost Game 1 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals at home to his former employer in the Atlanta Hawks, thanks in large part to point guard Trae Young’s magnificent performance.
Atlanta stole its third straight Game 1 on the road of these NBA Playoffs on Wednesday night. In Atlanta’s thrilling 116-113 victory, Young led all players with 48 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. The Hawks needed every point out of Young to steal home-court away from Milwaukee, just as badly as interim head coach Nate McMillan had to outperform his counterpart Budenholzer.
Here is what ESPN insider Jordan Schultz had to say about Budenholzer’s abysmal Game 1 strategy in an attempt to contain Young offensively.
Mike Budenholzer crushed for his awful Trae Young Game 1 defensive game plan
For Schultz to say Budenholzer either did not watch what Young did to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals or for him having money on his former team is damning. While Budenholzer is probably safe for next season regardless of what happens in this best-of-seven with the Hawks, it would be a crushing blow to lose to a team he did not want to rebuild with.
Will Budenholzer and the Bucks make the necessary defensive adjustments to better contain Young? Probably, as he is not going to approach 50 points a night in this best-of-seven series. However, a team that wants to get to the NBA Finals cannot let the opponent’s best player get off pretty much whatever shot he wants from distance. Game 2 is firmly a must-win for Milwaukee.
Bowing out to the Hawks in fewer than six games would be an embarrassment for the Bucks.