Hawks vs. Bucks — Things of Note

Graham Chapple —  January 15, 2017

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from their disappointing loss against Al Horford and the Boston Celtics on Friday night with a 111-98 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday evening. Giannis Antentokounmpo led the Bucks with 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting. Greg Monroe added 13 points off of the bench.

Welcome back, Baze

The Hawks are just so much more fun when Kent Bazemore has it going and he had his best game in a long time this evening. Baze scored 24 points (the most he has scored in a game since November 8th when he scored 25 points against the Cavaliers) on 8-of-13 shooting and 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

Baze really heated up in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his 24 points in that period on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Baze’s hot shooting helped the Hawks — who had started the third quarter a little sluggishly — pull away from the Bucks who had tied this game. Baze’s run made sure that the Bucks were playing catchup the rest of the way.

“Just being aggressive and letting it fly. If you can get it off, let it go. Teammates have been believing in me. Stayed the course. Showed up every day working hard. Tonight was one of those nights.” — Kent Bazemore

“Lots of times, he is so hard on himself. When he focuses on his defense and all those things, I’ve said it publically, that’s where his focus is when he is great defensively, active, getting rebounds and let the offense come to him. That’s when he’s at his best. We have a ton of faith in him. He is going to be good and make shots.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

Consistency has been a problem for Bazemore this season, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can follow up this performance with another strong one in New York when the Hawks play the Knicks tomorrow afternoon.

Dun-leave(y) that man open

Mike Dunleavy made his Hawks debut on Friday night against the Celtics but he didn’t really get to see proper rotation minutes, featuring at the end the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. This evening, we got to see Dunleavy play proper rotation minutes and, man, did he have a game. Dunleavy led the bench with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Dunleavy has hit six of his first eight three-pointers in a Hawk uniform and he looked good when it came to the other parts of the Hawks’ offense: off-ball movement and making the extra pass.

“It’s an easy group of guys and an easy way to play to fit in with. Obviously, I’ve been playing against this team for a number of years. I understand what they try to do offensively. It’s been pretty seamless thus far. Defensively, still trying to figure some things out and get more comfortable. Overall, I feel pretty good for two games.” — Mike Dunleavy

Although Dunleavy has flown out of the gates in his very brief Atlanta career, Coach Bud isn’t getting to carried away:

“It’s too games and we have to be careful not to put too much into it but I would say there has always been a belief that this would be a good place for him and a good way to play, moving and cutting and all those things. He is relishing his opportunity and we have welcomed him with open arms. Now that challenge is to come out and do it every night.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

Dunleavy’s involvement, however, did mean that neither Taurean Prince nor DeAndre Bembry saw any minutes during this game. It’ll be interesting to see if either Bembry or Prince are sent on any D-League assignments in order to get some game time.

Mike Muscala’s injury

Aw, man… During the first quarter Mike Muscala rolled his ankle pretty badly after he appeared to step on Dennis Schröder’s foot. Muscala was able to stand under his own power but went straight to locker room with a heavy limp. It was announced — very quickly — that Muscala would not return to this game and not long after the game ended Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reported that Muscala would not travel with the team to New York.

What was worrying about this — besides the injury of course — was how quickly it was announced that Moose wouldn’t return to the game and that he won’t travel to New York. Coach Bud mentioned postgame that Muscala would be reevaluated in 24 hours.

Kris Humphries checked in for Moose when he suffered the injury, so if the Hawks are without Moose for a little bit you can probably expect Humphries to fill in for Muscala.

Another rough night for Dennis

After struggling against the Celtics on Friday night (4 points on 2-of-11 shooting) it was another night to forget for Dennis Schröder. Schröder scored six points on 3-of-8 shooting, and while he dished out six assists he did turn the ball over five times in 24 minutes of play. For the second night in a row Malcolm Delaney was preferred over Dennis for the fourth quarter, Delaney playing all 12 minutes in the final period.

The positive takeaway in the midst of Dennis’ struggles is that Delaney has played very well when Dennis has struggled, nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and nine assists for Malcolm last night.

Over his last three games Delaney is averaging 12.7 points on 62.5% shooting from the field, 62.5% from behind the arc and 5.3 assists in 23 minutes per game. Delaney is also averaging a plus/minus rating of plus-17 in that three game stretch and recorded a game high plus-24 this evening.

Choir intro

While the Hawks will not play a home game on MLK day they did honour Dr. King pregame today — at home — on his birthday. This, of course, meant that the Hawks rolled out the choir player introductions which are probably the greatest thing to ever exist.

Absolutely fantastic. There’s nothing more I need to say here.

Season series clinched

This was the Hawks’ third game and third win against the Bucks this season, meaning the Hawks have clinched this season series, meaning that the Hawks would own the tiebreaker over the Bucks should these two teams finish with the same record at the end of the season. Whether this will be important in the grand scheme of things remains to be seen, but with the Bucks just a few games behind the Hawks in the standings, it’s certainly possible that these two teams could finish with similar records.

The Hawks will square off against the Bucks one last time on March 24th at BMO Bradley Harris Center.

Up next

There’s no time to celebrate this victory. The Hawks (23-17) are off to New York for a 1 p.m. tilt against the New York Knicks, who were on the road — and lost — against the Raptors this evening. The Knicks have lost 13 of their last 17 games.

Game stats: NBA.com
Hawks quotes: The AJC via Chris Vivlamore

Graham Chapple