The Milwaukee Bucks mirror Atlanta in an inability to close out opponents late when holding a small lead, but for the Bucks (13-52) it has been an all-season problem. After a six-game skid and an atrocious West Coast swing, the Hawks have suddenly won two consecutive and are heating up for a playoff push.
Atlanta downed Milwaukee 102-97 in Philips Arena Thursday behind stellar three-point shooting. Kyle Korver torched the Bucks in the fourth, while DeMarre Carroll stroked well throughout. University of Missouri product Carroll was heralded as a shutdown defender for the early part of the season, but he has quietly matured into a solid mark-up shooter. He went 4-of-6 on threes tonight for fifteen total points. Korver continues to lead the NBA in three-point percentage. Milwaukee is last in the NBA at defending against three-pointers, so Atlanta’s effective team strategy was to bury some from deep.
Jeff “Ice” Teague had a big bounce back game for the Hawks, breaking a four-game mini-slump, which followed a string of some of the best games of his career. NBA All-Star Paul Millsap, coming off a 23-point game in a win over his old Utah Jazz team, started hot in the first quarter then cooled with foul trouble. The Hawks were able to overcome their nineteen turnovers by playing team basketball, and the end of the game saw Teague throw down a monster dunk, signifying a return of confidence.
~ Han Vance on Twitter: @hanvance
Tags: Atlanta Hawks