Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story on the Hawks’ win over the Bucks Friday.
The Hawks pulled out a victory they had to have Friday.
Vladimir Radmanovic made a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go to lift the Hawks to a 99-94 victory over the Bucks at Philips Arena.
The score was tied at 92-92 with 1:16 left to play before a Josh Smith dunk and the decisive Radmanovic 3-pointer. Smith blocked a Drew Gooden low-post shot with 7.3 seconds left and the Hawks iced the game at the free-throw line. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the Bucks 34-18.
The Hawks (21-15), playing without leading scorer Joe Johnson and reserve Willie Green, earned their fifth win the past 14 games.
“The bench came in and did a phenomenal job,” coach Larry Drew said, crediting the play of Radmanovic, Tracy McGrady, Jannero Pargo, Jerry Stackhouse and Ivan Johnson. “I thought they gave us a huge, huge lift. … The energy was unbelievable and I was going to ride those guys to the very end. They got us back in it after we were down by [15 points]. It was clear our energy level in that fourth quarter was what carried us through.”
Smith led the Hawks with 24 points and 19 rebounds. The Hawks improved to 10-0 when Smith scores 20 or more points.
“I was able to sit there and witness a beautiful thing,” Smith said of the bench play. “… To see them close the gap and take the lead. I was just happy to get in the mix of things when I got back in there.”
Jeff Teague and Pargo each scored 11 points. Marvin Williams had 10 points and McGrady had nine points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Radmanovic finished with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
Radmanovic’s game-winner came after McGrady broke down the defense and passed to the open forward, who shot over Luc Mbah a Moute.
“I saw T-Mac trying to get in the paint and usually when guys are trying to penetrate the defense is sucking in and trying to prevent it,” Radmanovic said. “I saw my guy turn his back on me for a second and I just trying to get a shot off.
“I’m not trying to make this heroic. It was just a game we won.”
Brandon Jennings led the Bucks (14-22) with a game-high 34 points. Gooden added 24 points.
The Hawks went on a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter to trim the Bucks’ once double-digit lead to three points on back-to-back 3-pointers by Radmanovic and McGrady.
After a Jennings’ free throw, Pargo made back-to-back jumpers to give the Hawks an 80-79 lead, their first advantage since they led 35-34 with 4:36 left in the second quarter.
Two more jumpers by Pargo and three consecutive points by Jerry Stackhouse, and the Hawks led by five with just under 4:30 to play. Pargo scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
“I was disappointed in my effort in the first half,” Pargo said. “I didn’t think I came out defensively with the energy and effort I needed to come out with. The second half was a new start for me. I wanted to come out and be aggressive, particularly on the defensive end. Once you get that going it makes it easy on the offensive end.”
The Bucks closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 51-39 lead at the intermission. Jennings scored eight consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in 27 seconds of the stretch. The Hawks scored just 12 points in the second quarter — tying their season-low for that quarter.
Turnovers plagued the Hawks in the first half. They had 17 turnovers in the first 24 minutes, just eight off their season-high of 25. They had 21 turnovers by the end of the third quarter and finished with 23.
Smith had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first half for the Hawks — his 17th double-double of the season. He had 11 points in the first quarter, including two three-point plays.
“I’m starting to see a Josh Smith develop into a very, very true professional,” Drew said. “He has his moments but the things I’m starting to hear from him on the bench talking to the other players is a coaches dream. When he is out there playing with energy at both ends of the floor he makes us a better team.”
The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. The Hawks stormed back and cut the deficit to five points, at 69-64, on a Williams’ 3-pointer. Jennings went right back to work and scored another eight straight points, including two more 3-pointers, to push the lead back to 12 points.
The Hawks conclude a four-game homestand Saturday against the Thunder, with the NBA’s best record, before embarking on a season-long six-game, 10-day road trip.