Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
The Atlanta Hawks look to get back on the right track Wednesday night when they face a hungry Milwaukee Bucks team that is looking to move up in the East standings.
The Atlanta Hawks will play the Milwaukee Bucks three more times this season including Wednesday night's matchup at Philips Arena. The Hawks enter play on Wednesday in fifth place but just 2.5 games ahead of eighth place Milwaukee.
The Bucks roll into Atlanta having won six of ten and two straight including a 102-95 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. Milwaukee will be looking avenge an earlier home loss to the Hawks in which Atlanta erased a big fourth quarter deficit and won the game on a late basket by Al Horford.
Milwaukee could be without two key players in Erson Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who are both listed as doubtful with hip and toe injuries. Despite the injuries, Milwaukee has been playing well thanks to their dynamic duo on the backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.
In his last 10 games Ellis is scoring 25.9 per game on 52 percent shooting. He narrowly missed out on a triple-double Tuesday night finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Jennings is averaging 16.8 points over his last 10 but handing out 10.8 assists per contest as he has taken on more of a distributor role of late. However, he can still fill it up when called upon as his 24 points against the Blazers on Tuesday suggest.
Without Ilyasova and Mbah a Moute, Jim O'Brien went with a starting lineup featuring both Larry Sanders and Samuel Dalembert in the front court on Tuesday. Dalembert finished with 16 points and seven boards while Sanders had eight points and 13 rebounds. Larry Drew will have a decision to make on Wednesday as to whether or not he rolls out a big lineup to match the Bucks or takes his chances with a smaller group.
The Hawks will look to wake back up after a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday when they offered little resistance at the defensive end of the floor. Larry Drew wasn't happy with his team's effort and will be looking for much more against the Bucks.
"We didn't guard," coach Larry Drew said after the Mavs finished shooting 57.3 percent. "We had no defensive presence whatsoever. I don't care what the strategy was or what the game plan was, if you allow teams to shoot 60 percent you are not going to win.
Milwaukee is not the best offensive team in the league but both Ellis and Jennings are capable of big numbers once they find a rhythm. No doubt this is a game that the Bucks are focused on with a return matchup scheduled for Sunday in Milwaukee.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 The Fan, 93.7 FM
Online Streaming: NBA League Pass Broadband
Odds: Atlanta is a five point favorite at home against the Bucks