Wed. Final: Hawks 113, Bucks 105
By Todd Welter
Next game: Saturday, Apr. 11th vs. Oklahoma City
Embarrassed, annoyed and frustrated pretty much summed up the Bucks' 113-105 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at the Bradley Center. Those sentiments were echoed by many in the Bucks' locker room after the game as Milwaukee has won only three games since the beginning of March. The real point of frustration has been the vicious cycle in how the Bucks have been losing--a good start destroyed by a terrible third quarter followed up with a furious fourth quarter rally only to come up short in the end.
"It was quite frustrating that we played one way in the first half and we came out in the third quarter and didn't do that," Richard Jefferson said. "After pretty much being embarrassed in the third quarter, we went back to the things that we were doing in the first half when were so successful. That was the most annoying, frustrating thing about tonight's game"
The Bucks were successful in the first half thanks to a 61.5% field goal percentage as Milwaukee went into the break ahead 62-53. Milwaukee was embarrassed in the third quarter thanks to being outscored 31-12 and the Hawks ahead 84-74 heading into the final quarter. What was even worse was the Bucks made just 4-of-21 shots.
"Third quarter's are rough," Charlie Villanueva explained. "It just seemed like they picked it up and we started missing shots and our defense was affected by it. If you eliminate the third quarter, we win that game."
The Bucks almost pulled off a win as they charged back from being down 13 in the fourth quarter with a 22-9 run to tie the game at 102 with less than two minutes to go. Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson came up with some big plays that killed the Bucks' hopes. Bibby knocked down a three to break the deadlock and Johnson blew past a defender for a text book running layup that pushed Atlanta's lead to five. Then with 17 seconds left, Johnson buried a tough baseline fadeaway that sealed up Atlanta's (45-34) victory.
Johnson finished with a game-high 30 points while Bibby added 22 points.
"There was three quarters in which we did what were supposed to and there was one that we didn't," Jefferson thought. "That one quarter cost us the game. They are tough to defend but we have quality players. When you spot anybody a 10-point lead, it makes things more difficult."
Keith Bogans led the Bucks with 22 points while Jefferson added 19. The Bucks (32-47) will next face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night at the Bradley Center.