Life without Paul Millsap continues to be a struggle for the Atlanta Hawks, who dropped another game in their slide down the standings on Friday night, losing 100-97 to the Milwaukee Bucks. The starters did most of the offensive damage for the Hawks, putting up all but 12 points, but it wasn’t quite enough to overcome Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Dennis Schröder led the way for the Hawks, finishing with 28 points on 11-for-25 from the field to go along with seven assists and seven rebounds. Tim Hardaway, Jr. poured in 25 points on 17 shots and Dwight Howard had 20 points and 12 rebounds, but no other Hawk got into double-digits.
The Hawks got out to a good start in the first half, but as soon as the reserves started to trickle onto the floor, their lead evaporated quickly. Milwaukee led by as many as 13 in the second quarter before the Hawks’ starters came back in to close the game to 2 by halftime, closing on a 13-2 run.
Coach Mike Budenholzer went away from his ten-man rotation in the second half, opting to mostly exorcise Mike Muscala, Kris Humphries, and Malcolm Delaney from his plans. With the shortened rotation, the Hawks were able to stay within touching distance of the Bucks throughout the second half, even taking a few single-digit leads. Down the stretch, however, the Hawks just didn’t quite have enough in the tank to stop the losing skid.
Hardaway logged 40 minutes in the absence of Kent Bazemore and Schröder played 37, with both Delaney and Jose Calderon, who didn’t play at all in the game, nailed to the bench for most of the second half.
Schröder was the main man for the Hawks all night, as Milwaukee had nobody who could stay in front of the quick point guard. His shooting numbers might not reflect it, but he was able to get to the rim all night and when he wasn’t able to put it in, Howard was there on the glass for the offensive rebound. Atlanta finished with 13 offensive boards on the night and thoroughly outworked the Bucks in that facet of the game, out-rebounding them 49-37.
Next up for the Hawks is a 1 PM tipoff back in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon against the Brooklyn Nets. Reports are unclear as to whether Millsap will be able to make it back for that game, but with a soft stretch in the schedule coming up, the Hawks may use caution in bringing him back too quickly.