Horford, Hawks bully BucksBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Mar 20, 2013 11:01 PM EDT
ATLANTA -- Al Horford took it to the Milwaukee Bucks again, producing 26 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 98-90 win Wednesday night at Philips Arena. "When you give him that top-of-the-key jump shot, he's pretty accurate from there," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. "He's an All-Star player. That's what All-Stars do, night in and night out. That's why they're All-Stars." Bucks center Larry Sanders, who had a close-up view, added, "Every time he just shoots it, no pump-fake or anything. It's a great shot. I think it's going to go in every time he shoots it. I think he does, too." Sanders kept the Bucks close early, producing 10 rebounds and seven points in the game's first 10 minutes. He had a double-double early in the third quarter, and he finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. "If that had continued," Hawks coach Larry Drew said, "we would not have won this game." Horford was one of three Hawks with a double-double. Atlanta guard Jeff Teague had 27 points and 11 assists. He had only two points in the first quarter but turned it on in the second, scoring five points in the last 27 seconds of the first half on a 27-foot 3-point jump shot and then a floater with three-10ths of a second left, putting the Hawks up 48-43 at halftime. He exploded in the third quarter with 12 points, and the Hawks took over the game until the fourth quarter, in which Milwaukee outscored Atlanta 31-21. Hawks forward Josh Smith finished with 12 points and a season-high 16 rebounds -- including nine boards in the first quarter. "It's pretty impressive," Horford said. "I just think we can handle the game at the end a little better. Besides that, I'm proud of the way we responded after being down, working our way back and were still able to pull the game off." Guard Devin Harris had 10 first-quarter points, and he wound up with 15. Teammate Kyle Korver hit three 3-point shots for his nine points, extending his streak making at least one 3-point shot to 61 consecutive games. The Bucks (34-24) were on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Hawks (38-30) came out looking as though they were, too. Milwaukee shot 25 percent (8-for-32) in the first quarter, while Atlanta wasn't doing much better at 30 percent (6-for-20). There were a lot of air-balls. Only one-half of the Bucks' high-scoring backcourt enjoyed a solid offensive night. Brandon Jennings ended up with 21 points despite managing just two points in the first half. Monta Ellis struggled all night, finishing with five points on 2-for-14 shooting. Milwaukee reserve guard J.J. Redick took up a lot of the slack, scoring 18 points. Overall, the Bucks shot 37.4 percent from the floor, while the Hawks hit 48.1 percent of their shots. NOTES: By a quirk of the schedule, the Hawks and Bucks didn't see each other until Feb. 23 in Milwaukee, when the Hawks pulled out a 103-102 win after trailing by 10 points with a little more than six minutes to play. The teams face each other again in Milwaukee on Sunday and play again in Atlanta on April 12. Both teams are jockeying for playoff position, particularly trying to avoid being the eighth seed, which is where the Bucks are now. "Who would have known we'd be in this position?" Bucks coach Jim Boylan said, adding with a laugh, "I'd rather be in Atlanta's position than in my position, I know that!" ... Drew started guards Teague and Harris again, hoping that their speed would help to corral the Jennings and Ellis. ... The Bucks scored 102 points in their win over Portland at home Tuesday night while the Hawks scored 113 in their loss to Dallas on Monday. "If you're keeping score at home," Boylan said, "you may want to have a couple extra pens ready." ... The Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova (left hip pain) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (sprained toe) did not make the trip.
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