Similar to the first meeting back in January, the lowly Bucks gave the Hawks all they had and then some.
Atlanta weathered the storm, came back, took the lead, but eventually fell in double OT 117-109. It’s the third straight loss at home, which has not happened since 2004.
“Anytime the game goes two overtimes, there are opportunities for both teams. In the second overtime, they got a little separation, a couple baskets we were not able to score. Our execution could be better in some situations, including at the end of games.”
So much buzz surrounded the team over the break about the futures of Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder, back-to-back losses like these only bring on more questions and frustration. The offense is a little out of sync, piling up 21 turnovers versus Miami on Friday and shooting just 44% from the field against Milwaukee.
“It’s very disappointing,” Horford, who ended with 17 points and nine rebounds, said postgame. “We have nice homestand here. This is not the way we pictured it going. We are really in a hole right now.”
In this game Milwaukee played to its size, scoring 58 points in the paint and winning rebounding battle 65-49, while Hawks fought through miscues, turnovers (16) and poor 3-point shooting (22%). Yet despite all of that, Atlanta made a surge in the 4th quarter led by Schröder who scored seven of his 25 points and a hit big floater to send the game to its first overtime.
Schröder couldn’t care less though, the team as a whole has to be on the same page. Heroic efforts cannot always be relied upon and that was evident. The offense and defense came at spurts in both losses, but were not able to be strung together long enough to secure a victory. The capability is undoubtedly there, with two impressive wins over both Chicago and Boston this season. Now it’s just about effort, and Schröder is aware of that.
“I think we have to do better job for 48 minutes. We have to do everything as a team, defensively and offensively. If we do that, we’ll be great. We have to figure it out.”
Atlanta will have to figure it out quickly with the Golden State Warriors coming to town Monday. This will be the first matchup of the season and both teams clearly are not who they were this time last year; the Hawks are nowhere near the 60-win pace from the 2014-15 season, while Steph Curry and company are on a historic run at history to beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls all-time record of 72-10.
Meanwhile, Atlanta does not care who the opponent is at this point, but rather focused on playing 48 minutes of their best basketball, and starting to build some momentum to carry them in this last stretch of the season.
“It’s like every other game, we want to just compete for 48 minutes and win the game no matter if it’s Cleveland or the Warriors, we just want to win the game.” said Schröder
Monday’s matchup will be the Hawks biggest test of the year and playing a complete game will give them their best shot at an upset win.