When did Clint Capela become Larry Bird? With star point guard Trae Young out of the lineup for Tuesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 4, Atlanta’s supporting cast knew it needed to step up. And Capela did exactly that, making the most of his 28 minutes by pouring in 15 points and seven rebounds in the Hawks’ 110-88 rout of visiting Milwaukee, evening the series at two games a piece. As all great performers do, the 27-year-old saved his best for last, draining an impossible, behind-the-backboard jumper with the shot clock expiring midway through the fourth quarter.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com notes the shot (ESPN shamefully undersold it, describing the play in their official game log as, “Clint Capela makes 10-foot two-point shot”) was Capela’s first from outside the paint this postseason. Capela’s circus play immediately drew comparisons to Celtics great Larry Bird, who sank a similar shot from out of bounds in 1986.
Capela’s miracle bucket contested (unsuccessfully) by Bucks center Brook Lopez was predictably the talk of Twitter, eliciting praise from Skip Bayless and actor O’Shea Jackson Jr., among others.
Teammate Kevin Huerter, who starred with 27 points in Atlanta’s Game 7 victory over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semis, was just as blown away as the rest of us, acknowledging Capela’s heroics in his post-game comments to Bally Sports Southeast.
Capela took an elbow to the face later in the game, exiting with 3:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 6’10” center from Switzerland will have his injured eye reevaluated on Wednesday, though the Hawks are optimistic he’ll be in uniform for Thursday night’s Game 5 in Milwaukee.