Pretty brutal loss that’s a puzzler to explain. Some quotes from those involved.
Al Horford on losing leads late: “It’s a lessons still being learned, I feel like. I guess when it gets to a point where it hurts you and really bothers you, then you do something about it. I don’t know that we’re there as a team yet.”
Zaza Pachulia: “I believe we didn’t play smart the last couple minutes of the fourth quarter, I’d say the whole fourth quarter. We let them make a run and let them do what they wanted.”
Joe Johnson: “With everybody back, it seems that the flow is a little different. We just had no chemistry throughout the whole game.”
More Johnson: “It honestly wasn’t comfortable. We had a lead. After that, I don’t know what happened.”
Larry Drew: “It was not a good display of shot selection, which we talk about over and over, especially on the road. We settled.”
More Drew: “It was just a total collapse on the defensive end, I thought. We didn’t play with the energy, we didn’t play with the juice, we didn’t play with the intensity that, having been in that situation before, we’ve done in the past.”
- In the aftermath, this is unsettling. The Hawks had their full load of players and the Bucks didn’t have Brandon Jennings and John Salmons. The Hawks had three days’ rest and a six-game road winning streak.
To give a game away like that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
- The shot selection was particularly egregious. It seemed like they got trapped in a mindset that they had to chuck up jumpers to answer Milwaukee, and that obviously wasn’t the answer. Josh Smith was particularly trigger-happy, going 1 for 6 in the fourth, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
They were 5-for-22 in the fourth and 0-for-6 from 3-point range.
- The defense wasn’t much better. Earl Boykins and Carlos Delfino outscored the Hawks by themselves, 20-15. The Bucks were patient and worked for free looks at the basket, which they made. Boykins made 4 of 5 shots in the fourth, repeatedly attacking the basket. The Hawks’ 19-point deficit in the fourth was their second largest of the season. (20-point deficit in loss to Detroit Dec. 14)
- I’m not sure what this game means, ultimately. The Magic and Lakers lost to Milwaukee at the Bradley Center earlier this season. The Hawks had won six in a row on the road, so maybe this was bound to happen. Bear in mind this is a team that’s 29-17.
- Or, the Hawks weren’t able/willing to grind against a team that makes you do just that. For all the Bucks’ flaws, they can make teams work offensively. In their loss to Chicago Monday, the Bulls shot 39.5 percent but shot 25 free throws to Milwaukee’s 11 and won by nine points.