Bucks Lose Conference Final Opener, But Appear To Win Fans With Second Outdoor Viewing Area
The Milwaukee Bucks "History in the Making" theme to bring an NBA championship to the city for the first time in a half century hit a bump Wednesday night. The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Bucks by three points in the opening game of their Eastern Conference Finals series.
The Bucks led at the end of the first half. But Atlanta took the lead during the third quarter and made it stand up for a 116-113 victory.
The Hawks had some help from a few controversial referee calls in the fourth quarter that upset the crowd of about 16,000 people.
It was a big change in mood from before the game, when thousands of fans who were without tickets gathered on the plaza on the east side of the Fiserv Forum to watch the game on a large video screen.
Others stood watching a second video screen in a newly-opened viewing area in an empty lot on the south side of the Forum.
Bucks fan Kanitha Burks called it a good thing to have a new, less-crowded space.
"I'm glad they opened it up because we were here last week [for a game against the Brooklyn Nets] and it was like nowhere for my kids to be. So, I like it," she said.
Willie Lawson also likes the new viewing area. "Not so loud, and there's space, and it's big. So we enjoy it," he said.
The Bucks said they opened the second area to keep the viewing parties safe and fun.
The Hawks player who did the most damage to the festive nature of the evening was 22 year-old guard Trae Young, who scored 48 points.
During a postgame news conference, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo said his team will have to do better against Young during the second game of the series, set for the Fiserv Forum on Friday evening.
"We have to make it as tough as possible. Get physical with him. We have to make it from the first minute to the last minute tough," he said.
Or else, the Bucks could be down two games to nothing when the best of seven series switches to Atlanta on Sunday.