Milwaukee– The Hawks got their butts kicked. The details of the beatdown seem almost inconsequential in light of the aggregate effect of this blistering in the Bradley Center. The Bucks never got it handed to them like this at Philips Arena, where at least they fought back when the Hawks blitzed them.
– Forget the Xs and Os for a minute and consider the Hawks’ lack of intensity and poise. “It’s unacceptable to get blown out like this,” J.J. said. “We’ll look at the tape and correct our mistakes but more than anything it’s about coming out and playing with more effort.”
– The Hawks spouted some of those playoff cliches: The Bucks simply did what they had to do, the Hawks still own homecourt advantage, they still have a chance to win Game 4 on Monday for a road split. All of that is theoretically true but have the Hawks shown an indication that they can find the mettle it will take to win the next game? It would have been one thing if the Hawks competed and lost but failing to show up is something else.
– “Honestly I have no idea [why],” Joe said. “We knew what to expect and we knew what was at stake. For us to come out the way we played, that’s on the starters. It was unacceptable. Give the Bucks a lot of credit, they ot their team off to a fast start and never looked back.”
– Then again, the Hawks can’t afford to beat themselves up about this for too long. “I’m not taking anything away from the Bucks, they played extremely well tonight,” Woody said. “They did what they were supposed to do but we still hold a 2-1 lead and we still have an opportunity to steal one (in Milwaukee).”
– The Hawks have one road playoff victory in their last three postseasons. Their problems on the road continue to keep them from reaching the level of Cleveland, Orlando (which is looking to sweep Charlotte) and Boston. “We’ve struggled on the road even during the regular season,” J.J. said. “We’ve not been a great road team. We’ve got to find a way.”
– They can start by going back to feeding Smoove and Al inside. Woody had said he was surprised the Bucks didn’t show more resistance in the post in Game 2 after they had success pushing Josh and Al out in the second half of Game 1. The Bucks didn’t make that mistake again.
– “It’s no secret that in the first two games they sort of owned us in the paint,” Scott Skiles said. “We were able to take a few things away tonight.”
– The Hawks waited too long to get Al involved but he also wasn’t as sharp when deciding whether to pick-and-pop or go to the hole. Smoove just wasn’t at all in rhythm.
– The Hawks didn’t help matters by missing a bunch of shots near the rim. That’s how they had 20 offensive rebounds and managed only 12 second-chance points. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds but didn’t turn them into points this time,” Skiles said.
– The Hawks’ pick-and-roll defense was awful. After solid defensive efforts in Games 1 and 2 the Hawks were back to those familiar bad switches and lax closeouts. That meant layups and open 3-pointers all night for the Bucks.
– “Give them credit, they came out and made shots,” Marvin said. “At the same time we didn’t defend the way we usually do.” Marvin’s 1 for 7 shooting line looked bad but he had eight rebounds and probably was the best guy on closeouts.
– There were a few times when the Hawks were close to breaking through and needed patience and ball movement. Instead, J.J. went iso.
– The bench was better, I suppose, though does it really matter in a game like this? Or I guess I should say Zaza was better. Jamal (5 for 13) still can’t get into a rhythm.
– It was a nightmare game for Smoove. He smiled when Bucks fans heckled him near the bench as he sat watching the merciful end of the blowout loss. There wasn’t much he could say, though he was unapologetic afterward.
– “I didn’t say anything about their fans,” he said. “I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. Some people have different opinions. I gave my opinion and I’m entitled to it. You asked me a question, I gave an honest answer.”
– Hey, I didn’t ask the question to begin with. Milwaukee media folks kept crediting me, too, but it wasn’t me!
– Win Game 4 and the Hawks can forget this one. Mo’s formula for doing it: “Go back to getting the ball inside, get quality shots and play defense first and foremost.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans.