The Hawks were back home Sunday afternoon to face off against former head coach Mike Budenholzer and the Milwaukee Bucks after receiving a blowout loss from the Bucks in Milwaukee last week. Despite that terrible outing, Atlanta has been playing well of late, including a close loss against Toronto and an upset victory in Philadelphia on Friday evening. The Hawks played much better in this contest than they did in these teams’ previous meeting on January 4, but it was still Milwaukee on the high side of the scoreboard when it was all said and done.
The action started with both teams playing pretty solid basketball. Atlanta was able to get an early advantage on the boards and that was paramount in combating the Bucks, who were apparently unable to miss shots in the first quarter. Trae Young really got things going for the Hawks as he scored or assisted on the first three buckets for the home team.
The Bucks were led by the high-octane offense produced by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. When all was said and done, the Bucks put together an opening period in which they shot 75 percent overall and 68 percent from beyond the arc.
Atlanta had to feel fortunate to only be down 35-32 at the end of the first quarter, which was aided by the aforementioned rebounding advantage the Hawks held as they out-muscled the Bucks on the glass 19-9.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same for the visitors, who just continued to hit everything they shot. Atlanta got a nice little offensive lift from Taurean Prince, who returned to action today after being out several weeks with an ankle injury. Prince nailed this corner three after an incredible touch pass from Kevin Huerter:
A Taurean Prince 3️⃣ after a pass from Kevin Huerter. pic.twitter.com/JFf8oh30DL— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 13, 2019
Alex Len was huge (literally) for the Hawks in the first half, accumulating ten points and eight boards, while Young was also quite good with 12 points, three assists and six rebounds to put him on early triple double watch.
At half, the Hawks were still within shouting distance down 64-55, but to have a chance in the second half, Atlanta knew they would need to find a way to slow down the Bucks’ hot shooters.
The Hawks continued to play well to open the third quarter with Young continuing to lead the way. Milwaukee did not cool down during the break, as Malcolm Brogdon was able to get the Bucks rolling again. The Bucks are simply loaded at every position and put good player after good player on the floor all game long.
Atlanta was playing right with Milwaukee for the entire quarter, but were really hurt by Len picking up his fifth foul in the third period. DeAndre’ Bembry helped to keep the Hawks afloat, but at the end of three the Hawks found themselves in a double digit hole down 95-84.
The fourth quarter was really when Milwaukee really took off after an 11-3 run early on. Antetokounmpo continued to assert his dominance down in the post against the undersized Hawks. Young capped off a good night as the game began to draw to a close as he scored his 23rd and 24th points to go along with 11 boards and three assists.
The Hawks did not play badly today and all of their starters got to double digits in the scoring column against a pretty formidable opponent. John Collins secured yet another double double late in the fourth and continued his stellar play in 2019. All in all, the offense wasn’t the issue for Atlanta in this one, but they were unable to get stops when they needed them, a problem many teams have faced against this particular Bucks squad.
Atlanta would go on to take the loss, but are showing the NBA community their glut of young talent that have become a solid core over the last month.
The Hawks will be back in action against the Thunder at home on Tuesday so make sure to stay tuned for that matchup as Trae Young and former Atlanta point guard Dennis Schröder go head to head again.