Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Bucks 80
Twin put his big body on Bogut. (Benny Sieu / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Milwaukee–After scoring easily in the first half for the second straight night, the Hawks found themselves in a asasa game against an opponent that tends to thrive on it. On top of that the Bucks were rested while the Hawks were coming off that draining L at New Orleans last night.
- So it’s significant that the Hawks were able to win ugly at Milwaukee with a methodical, professional effort. “Coming in here off the back-to-back, we knew this game would be a physical game,” L.D. said. “I thought our guys responded really well tonight.”
- The Hawks scored 33 points after halftime against the Hornets and lost. They scored 38 in the second half against the Bucks and won.
- No doubt there’s a difference in offensive talent between the Hornets and Bucks, who are the league’s least efficient offensive team. And that’s mostly with Brandon Jennings.
- But Milwaukee just carved up and shut down the Lakers last week at the Staples Center. They could do neither to the Hawks, who made amends for that beatdown last month.
- “The last time we played this team they pretty much embarrassed us,” Joe said. “To come out and play the way we did tonight means a lot. We’ve got to try to build on this. We’ve got to try to string five or six wins together.”
- The Hawks were humming on offense in the first half: 22 of 40 field goals, 15 assists, six turnovers. All 10 guys who played scored and eight of them recorded at least one assist. “It’s nice to watch, I will tell you that,” Al said. “We are sharing the ball, different guys are getting involved. It seems like that is when we are at our best.”
- Then Iso-Joe returned in the third quarter. Fortunately for the Hawks he made a couple tough shots and Al got enough pick-and-pops that Milwaukee never could make a sustained run.
- Al continues to get it done despite his sore right hand. It was really swollen after the game and Horford said he plans to get an MRI tomorrow after X-rays were negative. “I know I look fine out there but it’s tough,” he said. “When I stop playing it feels OK but as soon as I get back out there it’s hurting.”
- I’m thinking the hand might explain Al’s seeming reluctance to go to the hole. Then again, if opponents inexplicably continue to give him room for jumpers then maybe there’s no need. “We set a pick-and-roll, everyone sunk in and almost gave me those wide open jump shots,” he said. “I had to take them.”
- Marvin was back on the bench with Twin starting at center. To Marvin’s credit, he remained aggressive and productive. He’s been consistent lately.
- Collins had 12 rebounds in 32 minutes. He frustrated Bogut. He freed Al to work over Ilyasova. He got in the way when the Bucks went to the hole and even drew a couple charges to kill their momentum. Only one of his four shots was a bad one.
- “I told him after the game, I want to see what our record is when he starts,” Josh said. “It has to be well over .500.” Actually it’s 5-5 but you know what he’s saying.
- “Jason has been doing a great job all year guarding bigger players,” Al said. “He’s been huge for us. It takes away from us having to help so much.”
- Smoove started the game attacking the rim. Eventually he began to wander back out to the perimeter but he was 6 of 12 so take the good with the bad.
- Efficient offensive game for Jamal in his second game back. He scored 14 points on eight shots and had two assists without a turnover. “I felt a lot more comfortable,” he said. “Yesterday I was just trying to feel my way.”
- His value is most apparent in games like this. Jamal, Horford and Marvin were the only Hawks to score in the fourth quarter.
- Bibby struggled for the second straight game. Teague replaced him late in the third quarter and Bibby didn’t return. L.D. mentioned Bibby was one of the guys who needed the holiday break so maybe he’s worn down.
- Teague played 18 minutes and made them count. It seemed like he followed every mistake with a positive play, such as when he chased down Brockman after a turnover and basically leaped over the 6-7 forward to block his layup attempt on the break.
- It remains to be seen if efforts like this will ever mean a regular role for Teague. “We knew with the matchup he was going to be able to match speed for speed,” Drew said. “I thought Jeff did a great job.”
- “Lester [Conner] tells me every day, just come in and try to make an impact on the game,” Teague said. “Do what I do and try to push the ball and try to be active on defense. That’s all they ask from me.”
- Even with Collins holding down the middle, it’s not like the Hawks shut down Milwaukee on the perimeter. Boykins, Dooling, and Salmons still were effective. But the Bucks got nothing from their forwards while Al, Josh and Marvin all were efficient.
- Zaza had a very good five-minute stint in the first half but then stayed on the bench after halftime. Mo had a very good seven-minute stint in the first half and got the same treatment.
- DNP-CD for Josh Powell and Damien Wilkins. L.D.’s rotation has yet to settle.
- The Bucks tried to rally in the third quarter but the Hawks always made a play when they needed it. For us, it was just a matter of maintaining our composure,” Twin said. “Once we answered them I think we took the wind out of their sails.”
- It was a weird fourth quarter for the Hawks. They shot 50 percent and held a 15-6 rebounding advantage but only outscored Milwaukee by five points. Atlanta had seven turnovers but Milwaukee only turned those into four points. The Bucks took 11 of their 20 shots in the paint but made only four.
- The Hawks scored just 38 points after halftime. This did not appease Bucks coach Scott Skiles: “They threw the ball wherever they wanted to throw it, did whatever they wanted to do all night really. Just methodically went through their stuff and their options and handled us pretty easily. It was worse than the score even appeared.”