Vivlamore reporting from Milwaukee.
Here is a quick look at tonight’s game against the Bucks with the Hawks coming off Sunday’s four overtime victory over the Jazz – their third game in three nights. Add tonight’s game at the Bucks and tomorrow’s home game against the Bulls and that’s five games in six nights. The Bucks are playing their fifth game in six nights.
The Hawks will be without forward Vladimir Radmanovic due to his back. Radmanovic missed four straight games with the back injury before playing 17 minutes against the Wizards on Saturday. He did not play (coach’s decision) in Sunday’s epic against the Jazz.
While Radmanovic is the only player out (besides Jannero Pargo recovery from an appendectomy) coach Larry Drew said several other players are hurting and weary.
“We will see how it goes,” Drew said of going deep into his bench. “I think the one thing I’ve been pretty adamant about, I’ve got to be very mindful of the minutes my starters are playing. I don’t want to pile a lot of minutes on those guys. We do have some guys who are a little banged up, nicked up. Having to play tomorrow night, I don’t want to pile the minutes. Hopefully, we can come out and play well and I can have a normal rotation. If that’s not the case, it’s not the case. But we will keep an eye on the minutes.”
Drew admitted he is not sure just how his team will respond to another game so soon.
“Don’t know,” Drew said. “We’ve come off three tough games. … I know we needed that day off yesterday in the worst way. We came in for shoot-around today and guys seem to have a little energy, which I was happy to see. As far as a performance, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know. I’m anxious to see how we respond after these last three ball games.”
Joe Johnson played 55:23 against the Jazz. Zaza Pachulia (54:10) and Jeff Teague (52:32) also broke the 50-minute mark.
Drew expects an even more up-tempo Bucks team with the trade-deadline addition of Monta Ellis from the Warriors. The Hawks got similar games from the Bucks in two previous meetings this season (both five-point Hawks wins). Ellis adds another scoring dimension.
“I’ve always been a big Monta Ellis fan,” Drew said. “He is, in a lot of ways, similar to Joe Johnson. He can really score once he gets it going. … As far as playing up-tempo that doesn’t change. They just have another guy to break the defense down and put points on the board.”