– The Hawks couldn’t make a playoff berth official on their second try. Elias Sports Bureau screwed up by telling the Hawks on Friday they could clinch with a victory over the Spurs, but waited until Monday to tell the league “Oops!” The Bulls won tonight so the Hawks couldn’t even back in.
– It’s tough to get down on the Hawks too much after this one. They’ve still won four of their last six. The Bucks are hot. The Hawks played a tough overtime game against the Spurs and arrived in Milwaukee early this morning.
– But just when you are ready to say the Hawks are one of those rolls that might last into the playoffs, they squander a 12-point lead and fall apart at the end in front of rowdy road fans. At least they could say they didn’t have J.J. when that happened at Toronto.
– But he was out there this time, and his Iso-Joe duel with John Salmons in the fourth quarter gave the Hawks a chance. But then Dick Bavetta called him for grabbing Salmons, a play so perplexing I looked up at the scoreboard and figured the Hawks actually had a foul to give.
– What the heck happened there? “I was just being aggressive and trying to deny him the ball,” Johnson said. “But he called a foul. That was at a crucial part of the game. That’s a tough call.”
– J.J. then missed a runner that would have tied it. That was the ninth Iso-Joe of the quarter. He made five in a row at one point but missed the last two to finish 6 of 9. “Late in ballgames, these guys look to me to make plays,” he said. “That’s what I was trying to do.”
– The Hawks could have earned a second chance on J.J.’s miss at 7.9 seconds but Luke Ridnour chased down the loose ball. The Bucks beat the Hawks 11-6 on the boards in the fourth quarter and made 11 of 19 shots. That’s how the Hawks lost despite shooting 53 percent.
– “It was a good effort considering we had an overtime game and then got in late,” Woody said. “We had our chances but we had a bad fourth quarter defensively. We gave up 31 points. We were solid on defense up until then. They got hot, made some shots. We matched shots but we couldn’t get stops when we needed top get them. We couldn’t control the dribble. Everybody just picked and choosed when they wanted to drive the ball.”
– Woody played Joe Smith and Mo 15 minutes and Zaza 10 minutes and the bench guys were effective. So you can’t say he rode his starters too hard but was fatigue a factor?
– “Out starters logged a lot of minutes in the overtime game so coming down the stretch you would think they would start to get a little tired and shots would come up short and that’s what happened,” Mo said.
– The Hawks looked to be in control after they took a 74-62 with two minutes left in the third. Even after Milwaukee started creeping back in it and the fans came to life, the Hawks still looked OK when Mo scored for a 76-67 lead to open the fourth.
– Then Salmons, Ridnour and Carlos Delfino started making shots. “They just turned it on,” Smoove said. “We had them in check pretty much the whole game and then they shots lights out early in the fourth quarter. It was hard to defend.”
– At the same time that was happening the Hawks stopped looking to Al. They were creative in getting him the ball in the first half but, just like at Toronto, they seemed to give up once the Bucks made their entry passes more difficult.
– Another invisible night from Marvin, who only took two shots. Consider his three rebounds and three turnovers vs. Delfino’s 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
– The Hawks might see the Bucks in the playoffs. I used to think it would be a tough series for the Hawks but I’m not so sure now. The Bucks play hard and are a good defensive team but for three quarters you could see how the Hawks boast much more offensive talent than the Bucks. Too much for the the Bucks to handle over a series, I think.
– “They play hard. All Skiles teams play hard,” Josh said. “They’ve got a low-post presence who demands a lot of double teams and a lot of shooters on the perimeter. They are a pretty good team.”
– “They’re deceptively good,” Mo said. “You look at their roster on paper and you don’t think they’d have respect. It’s not a team you would say is going to win a championship or go deep in the playoffs but somehow they are still able to contend and earn that respect.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans.