The Atlanta Hawks put an end to the Milwaukee Bucks' seven-game home win streak Sunday afternoon. Paul Millsap (23p/16r) and Al Horford (15p/8r) led the way offensively for Atlanta, while the defense was consistently pressuring the Bucks' ball handlers and sending multiple bodies in front of any promising drive. Again playing without the newly-acquired Michael Carter-Williams (toe), Milwaukee coughed the ball up 24 times, 16 in the first half.
After a sloppy first half that saw them trail 48-35 at intermission, the Bucks were able to break free from the shackling Hawks defense and turn their own stingy defense into easy offense, getting out to a 8-0 run to start the second half. Giannis Antetokounmpo broke free for a few dunks and had 10 of his 19 in the third, but was otherwise pretty well contained (4r/0a/2b). An 11-3 run brought the Bucks to within two at the end of the third and had the arena rocking, but the Hawks came storming out to a 13-4 run to begin the fourth. Kyle Korver (12p, 4-9 from three) drilled a trio of threes in the final frame, each more back-breaking than the next.
The 13-4 run became a 24-9 run, and before you knew it the Hawks had their highest scoring quarter of the night (31) and were on their way to snapping their two-game losing streak.
-- The Hawks defense did a good job of making several Bucks players do things they were uncomfortable with, mainly making players dribble from the perimeter into their crowded paint area. Jared Dudley missed all five of his shot attempts (0-3 from three) while forcing him into five turnovers. John Henson was surrounded by Hawks defenders on all sides whenever he caught the ball in the post, forcing him into three turnovers. What I'm trying to say is that the Hawks' defense is good and the Bucks' offense has a ways to go.
-- This was the first double-digit loss since early December at Oklahoma City -- a string of 31 games. That's pretty impressive for a young team.
-- Giannis still did cool things.
By scoring 19 points today, Giannis extends his double-digit scoring streak to 11 straight. He's averaged 15p/8.5r on 52 percent shooting in that stretch.
-- In his Bucks debut, Miles Plumlee had 4p/5r/3a/1b/1s in 15 minutes. It's early, but it looks like Plumlee will be a nice complement in the center rotation with Zaza Pachulia and John Henson, who both struggled today.
-- A large part of what muddied up the Bucks offense -- especially early on -- were those turnovers. The 16 in the first half was the second-highest total they've had in a half this season (17 in first half against Washington, an equally ugly game).
-- Johnny O'Bryant was a very late scratch and was not with the team when the game began. Our Aron Yohannes later tweeted that JOB had left to be with his fiancée, who had gone into labor.
-- SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK. Yes, the Bucks Bango bike horn giveaway was today. It appears as if some people weren't big fans of it. Our own Steve von Horn had a little fun with it, though.
-- If you thought Giannis and Henson not playing down the stretch was baffling, consider that the Bucks hit the road tomorrow for a potential playoff preview against the Chicago Bulls, who are loaded in the front court.