Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Rally Against Bucks…Again
A few thoughts after tonight’s 109-104 win over the Bucks:
– There’s something about the Bucks that must make the Hawks think they’re never out of a game. Atlanta rallied from 10 down in the final minutes to beat the Bucks 103-102 in game one, overcame an eight-point deficit to win game two, clawed back from six down late to win game three and recorded tonight’s 19-point comeback to earn the sweep.
– The Bucks were hot early but couldn’t sustain their incredible three-point shooting. They finished 17-33 from deep (52%), which is still really good, but they were hovering around 63 percent for most of the first half. The Hawks did a much better job closing on their shooters in the fourth quarter.
– The Bucks are a team that allows opponents to run, and that’s exactly what the Hawks did early and often. They finished with 33 fast-break points, just three shy of their season high. Many of those were in initiated by Jeff Teague, who had a fabulous 24-point, 10-assist night.
– Josh Smith was again effective from the field, shooting 11-17 on his way to 24 points. J-Smoove has now shot 50 percent or better in three straight games. It’s great to see him getting to the rim and taking quality shots.
– Perhaps the biggest contributor off the bench tonight was Ivan Johnson. The big man scored nine points, including six straight in the fourth quarter when the Hawks and Bucks were trading baskets. If not for him, Milwaukee likely would have pulled away. Ivan has now shot 50 percent or better in 10 straight games.
– Kyle Korver needed just 19 seconds to extend his three-point streak to 72 games. He hit one on Atlanta’s first possession, which seriously may have been the quickest I’ve seen him make one so far this year.
Overall, this was a game the Hawks needed to play as the playoffs approach. With the regulars nursing injuries over the past few weeks and Wednesday’s blowout win, Atlanta hasn’t played a close, hard-fought game with the starters in weeks. It was good to see them battle back against a playoff team and get a win. Hopefully they can continue building momentum after a few days off when they play Toronto Tuesday.
A quick note on playoff positioning – The Hawks are technically the five seed after tonight’s win and Chicago’s loss, though the Bulls still control their own destiny by virtue of owning the tiebreaker. We’ll see how it shakes out over the next week.