The Atlanta Hawks were back on the road Tuesday night in Milwaukee to face off against the up and coming Bucks. This matchup would also be Atlanta and Milwaukee’s first since the Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe and fired former head coach Jason Kidd.
In the early going, the Hawks came out firing with Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore handling the bulk of the scoring. The game ground to a halt under the nine-minute mark with both teams playing some impressive perimeter defense and didn’t pick back up until around the four-minute mark of the first when both teams began to exchange blows with the Hawks getting a couple of huge threes from Taurean Prince and Dennis Schroder. Atlanta continued to grind on defense and secured a 24-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was another slow-moving, low-scoring period featuring some intense defense by both teams. Points became even harder to come by for the Hawks as Atlanta turned to the three-pointer hoping to neutralize Milwaukee’s height in the paint. The Bucks turned to young star Giannis Antetokounmpo for offense but even Giannis struggled to get anything going against Atlanta’s pack-the-paint defense. With the teams tied and time winding down in the quarter Dennis Schroder made a ridiculous floater that gave Atlanta a two-point lead at halftime, 43-41.
The Bucks made their big run in the third quarter coming out of the locker room with good ball movement and suddenly good three-point shooting to take a lead over the Hawks. The Bucks began to rain down three pointers from Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and Eric Bledsoe while Atlanta continued to struggle against the massive height of the Bucks. The whistle was not being heard a lot in Milwaukee tonight as both teams were allowed to play more physical defense. The Hawks worked to make a late comeback and were able to cut the deficit to 13 coming into the fourth down, 74-61.
Coming into the fourth quarter, the Hawks knew that their work was cut out for them and played well early getting some good minutes from DeAndre’ Bembry for the first time in a while. The Hawks continued to play well as former Buck great Ersan Ilyasova began to take over the game late for Atlanta hitting a couple of open jumpers including a nasty step back three that brought the Hawks to within one-point midway through the quarter.
Atlanta’s defense continued to be good, as Taurean Prince was able to get a steal and in transition found Kent Bazemore who nailed yet another clutch three pointer late for the Hawks to knot the score at 84. The Bucks continued to run their offense through Antetokounmpo, though, and were rewarded as the Bucks just absolutely flipped a switch in the final three minutes and came away with a hard-fought win.
The Hawks will be back in action one more time before the All-Star break tomorrow evening in Detroit against the Pistons who lost to Atlanta just last week at Phillips Arena. Make sure to join Peachtree Hoops for all your Atlanta Hawks news and game coverage this season.