The Atlanta Hawks six game road winning streak came to an end tonight with a 98-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. After taking a 75-64 lead into the fourth quarter, the Hawks were outscored 34-15 in the fourth quarter. A combination of factors led to Atlanta's demise ranging from blown defensive assignments to suspect shot selection down the stretch. Credit Milwaukee for staying in the game and turning up the defensive pressure in the fourth, but this was simply a game that Atlanta let slip through its fingers.
Josh Smith was the main culprit for Atlanta tonight. His 14 points and 11 rebounds look nice until you consider he was 6-20 from the floor and 1-5 from three point range. Smith also committed five turnovers while not recording an assist on the night. For much of the game, Josh Smith had a size advantage over his defender yet seemed to be glued to the three point line. He seemed to be more intent on complaining about rather than closing out on his man defensively.
Jamal Crawford led the way for Atlanta with 20 points off the bench going a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Al Horford returned from injury to log a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Horford also recorded a team high five assists. Joe Johnson went 6-13 from the floor while scoring 15 points.
Milwaukee got a huge boost from its bench with Earl Boykins and new acquisition Garrett Temple combining for 28 points off the bench. Carlos Delfino also came off the bench to hit five 3-point shots finishing with 15 points. As a team Milwaukee connected on 10-20 shots from three point range. Corey Maggette got off to a fast start scoring 14 points in the first quarter and finished with 22 points before fouling out midway through the fourth.
The loss is a tough one for the Hawks to swallow considering they began the fourth quarter with an eleven point lead. Offensively they began the fourth quarter going 1-14 from the field which combined with some defensive breakdowns allowed Milwaukee to take control of the game. You simply cannot allow a team like Milwaukee that is last in the league in scoring to score over 30 points in the final quarter. Particularly when they are without two of their top scorers in Brandon Jennings and John Salmons.
Atlanta will return home to face the New York Knicks on Friday. For more on this game and the Hawks check out Peachtree Hoops.