Ten observations from sitting on my couch and watching Bucks 97, Hawks 92. . . .
1. This was a professional effort by the Hawks but they faded in the end. The Bucks blitzed them in the third quarter to lead by 14 but the Hawks rallied in the fourth. Kent Bazemore tied it at 84 with his second 3-pointer of the final period. Then Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored on consecutive possessions, Ersan Ilyasova missed back-to-back threes and Eric Bledsoe hammered a fast-break dunk. That put the Bucks up six. Then Antetokounmpo blocked Bazemore’s shot and Thon Maker dunked on a feed from Bledsoe in transition. That was pretty much it for the Hawks.
2. The Bucks took control with a 14-2 run late in the third quarter. During that surge they turned long rebounds on missed jumpers into fast-break chances the other way. They did the same thing late in the game. The third-quarter run also included Bledsoe’s block of John Collins’ dunk attempt and Jabari Parker’s ensuing dunk over Collins. The play electrified the crowd and the Bucks were off and running.
3. Schroder (18 points on 16 shots) made his first two 3-point attempts and had a rhythm. Unlike against the Pistons, Schroder didn’t finish strong. Schroder missed two shots at the rim in the final minute and also lost a ball out of bounds in the backcourt while trying to save clock.
4. The Hawks invited Antetokounmpo to shoot jumpers and he pretty much obliged. It worked out for the Hawks as Antetokounmpo scored 15 points on 16 shots. He had 15 rebounds but the Hawks won 50-48 on the boards.
5. The Hawks got the usual good rebounding work from Dewayne Dedmon (10), John Collins (five) and Ersan Ilyasova (seven). They also got 15 combined rebounds from guards Bazemore, Malcolm Delaney and Tyler Dorsey. The Hawks ran up a big early rebounding deficit by beating the Bucks to loose balls. Colins also had four blocked shots, another measure of how the Hawks were quicker and than the Bucks for much of the night.
6. After back-to-back duds, Taurean Prince was better. His activity and hustle boosted the Hawks early. Prince made his first 3-pointer to break an 0-for-14 drought then scored on a nice drive. Not long after that Prince drew a foul against Tyler Zeller with another decisive move to the basket. He ended the quarter by corralling a loose ball tapped by DeAndre’ Bembry and flicking through a floater just before the buzzer.
7. The Bucks are an average defensive team overall but they rank seventh in 3-pointers allowed per 100 possessions and 12th in 3-point percentage allowed. They were casual on their close-outs against the Hawks, who got off 25 3-pointers and made eight.
8. Delaney was 0-for-3 from the field but 4-of-5 from the free-throw line with seven rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 15 minutes. Since becoming a regular in the rotation, Delaney has been consistent in every area except shooting.
9. The Hawks went cold from the floor early in the second quarter. Delaney and Ilyasova missed open looks and Bazemore forced it on a couple of drives. They found their rhythm again after Dedmon made a 3-pointer in transition.
10. In his first game since Dec. 22, Bembry logged 12 minutes and had two points on two shots, three rebounds, an assist and zero turnovers. Bembry was tentative offensively early but more assertive after halftime.