When the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks met slightly more than a week ago, the game was over before it even began. Now the young Atlanta team gets a second shot at one of the league's hottest teams when it hosts the Bucks Sunday in a rematch at State Farm Arena.
Milwaukee won that game 144-112 on Jan. 4, the first time Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer matched up against his former team. The Bucks jumped out to a 43-14 first-quarter lead and were able to rest their starters, none of whom played more than 22 minutes. It was the most points scored by the Bucks this season and their third-highest margin of victory.
The Bucks have won five straight in the series with Atlanta. The teams play two more times this season.
Milwaukee lost to the Washington Wizards 113-106 on Friday to break a two-game winning streak. The Bucks played without Giannis Antekokounmpo, who was held out with hip and quad injuries. The Bucks are now 2-1 without him in the lineup.
"It's an adjustment," Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon said. "If any of the starters were out, it would be an adjustment, but when Giannis is out it's even a bigger adjustment. That was a winnable game for us, even though Giannis was out. That's on us to take a bigger role."
Antetokounmpo, who is expected to play Sunday, played only 19 minutes against the Hawks in the first meeting but still tallied 16 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.
Brogdon, who is from the Atlanta area, loves to play at home. He is the only player in the league shooting better than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3 pointers and 90 percent from the free throw line. He's averaging 15.7 points and 3.5 assists.
The Hawks are coming off Friday's dramatic 123-121 win over Philadelphia. Second-year forward John Collins hit a jumper with 25 seconds left to give Atlanta the lead and withstood three chances by the Sixers to tie or win the game.
That win broke a two-game losing streak and allowed Atlanta to salvage one game from its three-game road trip.
Collins has been the team's best player since missing the first 15 games with a badly sprained ankle. Since then he's averaged a double-double - 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds - and posted a double-double 16 times. He had 25 points and nine rebounds against the Sixers.
One of the players who has shown the most development over the last month is Kevin Huerter, a rookie from Maryland. Huerter is starting to fill the role of a clutch 3-point shooter that the club has missed since it traded Kyle Korver. Huerter scored a career-high 29 points against the Sixers, a total that included five 3-pointers. He ranks third in the league among rookies in 3-point percentage.
"I had a pretty good rhythm in the fourth quarter and we just kind of kept running plays that were working for us," Huerter said after the win.
Atlanta continues to play without Taurean Prince (left ankle) and Kent Bazemore (right ankle). The Bucks played without rookie Donte DiVincenzo (left heel) on Friday, but Ersan Ilyasova started and played 26 minutes despite a left quad injury, and D.J. Wilson (hip pointer) returned despite being listed as doubtful.
--First Level Media