Mar 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks small forward Marquis Daniels (6) shoots over Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Hawks Put Defensive Concerns To Rest With 98-90 Win Over Bucks

The game started out sloppy and scrappy, as might be imagined between these two teams fighting for playoff positioning. Devin Harris started out with 10 first quarter points and no other Hawk had more than 2 points. The Bucks began to heat up in the second quarter, but the Hawks followed closely behind.

John Henson had a number of uncontested putback dunks and JJ Redick hit pullup jumpers in transition. Kyle Korver bumped his consecutive game three point streak to 61 games.

John Jenkins got rolling in the second offensively and then Jeffrey Demarco Teague had his turn. He buried a three in the corner after a swift Josh Smith pass, then hit a couple of floater and got to the rim in transition just before the halftime buzzer. Jeff Teague was en fuego from that point on. He would end up with one of his finest games this season.

There was a noticeable quicker step from all Hawks in the second quarter when compared to the first. The shooting percentage reflected that as well. The final margin was 48%-37% shooting in favor of Atlanta.

The Hawks defense did a quick 180 degrees from that exhibition they put on Monday night. The dared the Bucks to be content with long range jump shots and they were.

Monta Ellis was ice cold, due to the smothering Hawks defense. At every time that he tried to get into the lane, a Hawks would slide and cut off his path. He finished with a ghastly 2-14 Whatever was said to the team in the locker room between Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks and tonight clicked because the Hawks defense was airtight.

The Bucks made a small run near the end, and Jeff Teague admitted to relaxed play by himself and other, but the Hawks won pretty easily nonetheless. Clearly, the Hawks weren’t hampered by the defensive problems that plagued them two nights ago and their reputation as a stout team on that end remains intact. With the win, the Bucks fell farther into the 8 seed hole and the Hawks moved up towards the top 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Game Balls:

1. Jeff Teague: Teague’s ankle seems pretty much healed by the looks of this game. 27 points on 19 shots and 11 assists says it all.

2. Al Horford: Horford had yet another monsterous 20-10 line (26 points and 15 rebounds to be exact). Clearly, he was aided by my luck in meeting him yesterday.

3. Josh Smith: Smith lead the rebounding effort with 16, which was extremely important against Larry Sanders and the rest of the 18 (approximately) bigs of Milwaukee. He had a couple of notable defensive lapses in the fourth quarter but played brilliantly on that end at all other times. He clearly altered some shots without recording blocks.

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