The Atlanta Hawks pulled out a 103-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks after falling behind by 7 points with 3 minutes to go.
Anthony Tolliver got another start at the small forward, presumably for his length, alongside Devin Harris, Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Josh Smith. JJ Redick made his Milwaukee Bucks debut and audibly created a buzz in the crowd with every spin move and contested jumper. Despite being in a completely different offense than he was in Orlando with a completely new cast of teammates, he came off the bench and drop 16 points on just 9 shots in 35 minutes to give the Bucks a lift.
There were a couple of scares for the Hawks point guards. At one point Devin Harris flew into the courtside crowd diving after a ball. At another, Jeff Teague fell to the floor, apparently hurting his lower body after running shot. They stayed in the game so no major injuries were suffered.
The game remained close until the fourth quarter. Ersan Ilyasova heated up from midrange and Samuel Dalembert went coast-to-coast (not a typo) to give the Bucks what looked like a commanding lead. However, the Hawks fought back behind some creative driving and finishing from Jeff Teague and Devin Harris as well as a long three pointer from Josh Smith.
The game got very interesting with about 15 seconds to go and a 1 point Hawks lead. An inbound give-and-go between Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova made it so Josh Smith had to switch onto Ellis. Ellis blew by Josh and banked in a shot to give Milwaukee a 1 point lead. However, it left 10 second on the clock for Larry Drew to go to work. A busted play left Horford with a clear out in the post against Larry Sanders. Horford was able to back him down and get up a jump hook to give Atlanta a 1 point lead with 6 seconds left. Monta Ellis’ runner at the buzzer went begging and sealed the Hawks’ second victory in as many days.
The Hawks lived by the three ball for the entire game and finished 14-28 from long range. Strangely, the usually assassin-like Kyle Korver was only 2-7 from there but point guards Teague and Harris combined for 6-8 from three.
Oddly enough, the Hawks started the season with a logjam at the shooting guard position, but the only true shooting guard available after the loss of Lou Williams to injury and Anthony Morrow to trade, was rookie John Jenkins. He hit a couple of open three pointers to stretch out the defense for Horford to work inside.
Larry Sanders stood tall like his long 6’11” frame would suggest and brought down 19 rebounds, but was baited into a few bad jumpers. All of the Atlanta bigs did a poor job boxing him out but turned up the defensive help whenever he, Mbah a Moute, or Samuel Dalembert caught the ball in the low post.
All in all, it was a good Hawks win on the road that keeps them in the mix for the 3-6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
1. Jeff Teague: Teague set the table for the Hawks offense with 23 points on 15 shots and 9 assists.
2. Al Horford: Horford toughed up an injury to his upper head to put in the game winning basket. He finished with yet another double double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
3. Devin Harris: Though Josh Smith did have 15 points and 13 rebounds, his shots were just not falling. Harris played 39 minutes and was extremely efficient shooting the ball (21 points on 11 shots).