Another ugly win came the Milwaukee Bucks way tonight, as they toppled the Atlanta Hawks 122-117 on this St. Patricks Day holiday. The Bucks finished off the first quarter down five, 31-26, to the Hawks. They found their mojo in the second quarter though, outscoring the Hawks by 11 and taking a 56-50 lead into halftime. By the third quarter’s conclusion, Milwaukee held a 95-87 lead. The Hawks narrowed in, even taking a slight lead late, but the Bucks were able to come out on top in the end with some clutch free throws.
As always, a win is a win, but tonight’s victory doesn’t engender much confidence in this Bucks team. During this four-game stretch against a poor slate of teams, they barely beat both the Knicks and Grizzlies while also dropping a contest to the Magic. This win is welcome, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about this team potentially advancing past the first round for the first time since 2001.
As one would hope against one of the league’s laughing stocks, Giannis Antetokounmpo made hay, notching 33 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two blocks against the hapless Hawks. His performance was welcome for a team that needed someone to step up and ensure they could beat this weak squad.
For his compatriots, Jabari Parker gave a boost to the Bucks off the bench with 15 points. Khris Middleton popped in for a tough shooting yet productive night, scoring 23 points overall on 6 of 14 shooting but going 9-9 from the line. Eric Bledsoe kept his shooting to a minimum tonight, attempting just 10 shots but scoring 19 points and tallying 9 assists.
For the Hawks, Taurean Prince led the way far and above for the Hawks, notching 38 points and eight rebounds. John Collins helped out with 15 points and 12 boards of his own and Dennis Schroder tagged in with 18 points and nine assists before fouling out.
Stat that Stood Out
19 Turnovers - The Atlanta Hawks coughed the ball up aplenty tonight and Milwaukee made the most of those gaffes tonight, scoring 22 points off of them. Those easy points are always a key part of Milwaukee’s arsenal given their issues scoring in the halfcourt at times this year. Offensive frustration is generally alleviated when they’re running in the open court, and tonight was another indicator of that trend.