MILWAUKEE (TICKER) —Glenn Robinson made his much-anticipated return in street clothes and watched Sam Cassell and Ray Allen combine for 22 points in the decisive third quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 97-88.
Allen had eight points and Cassell six in a 14-0 run that erased a one-point deficit midway through the third quarter and gave the Bucks a 71-58 advantage after Cassell’s two free throws with 4:53 left.
The Hawks climbed within 79-72 after three quarters, but Milwaukee went on a 7-2 run to start the fourth and led comfortably the rest of the way.
Robinson, who spent his first eight seasons in Milwaukee before being traded to Atlanta last summer, sat out with a sore right elbow. Since the deal, Robinson has exchanged barbs with former teammate Allen, but before the game hugged Bucks coach George Karl.
Karl also was reunited with interim Atlanta coach Terry Stotts, who spent 12 years as an assistant under Karl before joining the Hawks this season.
“Terry’s a great basketball mind and he has an opportunity to stay at the top level of basketball,” Karl said. “He’s been with me through a lot of great years, wins and runs.”
Hawks guard Mike Wilks, a former Milwaukee high school star, had six points and a career-high nine assists.
“It was a special day, one I’ll always remember,” Wilks said.
Atlanta controlled the glass, pulling down 41 rebounds to Milwaukee’s 28, but was sloppy with the ball. Terry and Abdur-Rahim each had five of the Hawks’ 21 turnovers.
“You can’t have turnovers against a good offensive team,” Stotts said. “It’s a tough thing to overcome.”
The Bucks led at halftime, 51-50, and fell behind only briefly in the third.
Theo Ratliff’s jumper with 7:56 to go in the third gave the Hawks a 58-57 edge, but Allen hit a jumper and a 3-pointer around a bucket by Cassell for a 67-58 lead. Cassell added another basket and a pair of free throws for a 71-58 margin.
“I came out in the first half a little tentative offensively,” Cassell said. “In the second half, I tried to be a little more aggressive and look for my shot.”
Ratliff had 14 points and nine boards and Ira Newble contributed 11 and four in 22 minutes off the bench for the Hawks, who shot 48 percent (34-of-71) from the floor.
“They had a little run in the third, but I never felt we were totally out of it,” Abdur-Rahim said. “We just couldn’t get back into it.”
Leading 79-72 in the fourth, Milwaukee took an 12-point advantage on a bucket by Cassell and a three-point play by Thomas 1:45 into the period. The Bucks took their biggest lead at 90-75 with 6:33 to go on a bucket by Ollie.