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Hawks lose hard-fought game in Milwaukee, 122-117

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The Hawks lost John Collins to an ankle sprain late in a game that was close right up to the end.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks made their way to Milwaukee Saturday night for their final matchup with the Bucks this season. The Hawks are riding a five-game losing streak and are looking to get back on track even in the midst of the toughest stretch of games this season.

The Hawks inactives for Friday’s game included DeAndre’ Bembry, who simply cannot catch a break this season when it comes to staying healthy. Antonius Cleveland, who was signed to a multi-season deal recently, is also still out rehabbing from ankle surgery, but has been participating in pregame shootarounds. Malcolm Delaney was also out once again as he continues to rehab a left ankle sprain. Kent Bazemore has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a right knee bone bruise. Jaylen Morris is out for the Hawks as well recovering from a rough ankle sprain. Taurean Prince and Isaiah Taylor were both listed on the injury report but did play against the Bucks.

The Hawks transferred their two-way players Andrew White III and Josh Magette back to Atlanta from the Erie Bayhawks for tonight’s game.

The action between the Hawks and the Bucks early on was slow-moving, to say the least. The Hawks got rolling with back-to-back three-pointers from Prince and Tyler Dorsey. The Hawks really started to heat up offensively midway through the quarter as they began to get into the lane and break down the Bucks defense. Milwaukee was kept in the game by the always great play of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who couldn’t miss from three in the early going. Prince continued his great play of late getting to the rim and hitting from distance at will. The Bucks got a bailout three pointer from Thon Maker right before the end of the first quarter to make things look a little less ugly with the Hawks leading after one, 31-26.

The second quarter was a completely different story for the Hawks as they simply were bad offensively. The quarter began with a Dewayne Dedmon dunk off a nice dish from Dennis Schroder, but the Hawks had to limp into halftime after that. Damion Lee, a new 10-day signee for the Hawks, played well in his short stint in the second period, hitting a three-pointer. The Bucks had no trouble scoring on the other end as Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton got their games going with some nice long-range shooting and aggression going to the basket. When it was all said and done, the Bucks had outscored the Hawks 30-19 in the second quarter en route to a 56-50 lead at the half.

It seemed as if no one wanted to play defense in the third quarter as the teams began to just exchange buckets. Prince continued his great game on the offensive end getting to the rim with ease. The Bucks countered with a Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo-led run where seemingly every shot was falling. The Hawks would not go quietly though and get their big men involved from distance as Dedmon and Mike Muscala started hitting from three. White spouted off a personal 5-0 run in the final seconds of the quarter to conclude a period that saw the teams combine for 76 points and had Milwaukee still in the lead up 95-87.

The Hawks tried to make one final run in the fourth, getting John Collins involved on the pick-and-roll. Just as the Hawks began to get him in rhythm, he turned his ankle attempting a corner three. The play was reviewed and upgraded to a flagrant one on Antetokounmpo for coming underneath Collins as he landed. Collins knocked down all three free throws and was removed for the remainder of the game. Prince went supernova for a short stretch midway through the fourth that got the Hawks the lead momentarily, but the Bucks went back to their bread and butter of Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe down the stretch and it paid off big time as both guys were able to get to the rim and to the free throw line giving the Bucks control again. Schroder fouled out with just under three minutes to go and compounded the issue with a technical on his way off the court. Antetokounmpo continued to torture the Hawks around the rim and paced the Bucks to a hard fought win. Prince was fantastic today and posted a game high 38 points to match his career high in the loss.

The Hawks continue their rough road trip when they travel to face the Jazz in Utah on Tuesday. Stay tuned for updates to John Collins’ status for the next game and other players that are on the mend for Atlanta.