By John Carroll, Scouts Inc.
The Atlanta Hawks blew an incredible opportunity to end this series on Saturday night in Milwaukee. They had controlled the Bucks easily in their first two home games, but they let their foot off the pedal Saturday and it may come back to haunt them.They let a team that was doubting itself and wondering if they could beat Atlanta do exactly that. The Hawks have proven over the past two years that they are not a mature road playoff basketball team, and did nothing versus Milwaukee yesterday to dispel that notion.
The Hawks were 1-8 coming into road game and now 1-9 over three postseasons. Not only do they lose on the road in the playoffs they get destroyed. They have lost by an average margin of 24.1 points. Saturday's 107-89 thumping is just more evidence of their immaturity and lack of discipline on the road.
The Bucks played with incredible energy and intensity in Game 3. They knew coming into the game it was the only way they could win. They played almost a perfect game for the first three quarters. They made their first 12-15 field goal attempts and shot 51 percent for the game. They defended at a high level, and held the Hawks to 89 points and 32 percent from the field in the first three quarters. Meanwhile the Hawks gave no resistance from their side. They did not defend with any energy, put no pressure on the ball and allowed the Bucks to move the ball wherever they wanted.
Game 4 Adjustments
The Bucks are one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA. They do not have reliable perimeter shooters on their team. However because of the lack of defense and energy on the Hawks' part the Bucks shot 51 percent from the field and 10-23 from the 3 point line. Prior to Saturday’s game they had been only 10-44 in the first two games. The Hawks must come out in Game 4 and defend. They have all the tools, talent and athleticism to shut down the Milwaukee Bucks. If they do not this series could be tied up after Monday. Joe Johnson was the only player who showed up for the Hawks in Game 3. In the first two games the Hawks had all five starters in double figures. Saturday night Josh Smith, Al Horford, Mike Bibby were all no shows. Atlanta needs to grow up if they want to advance in the playoffs. Their habit of pulling no shows on the road could cost them a series they should win.
The Bucks need to do three things to beat the Hawks in Game 4. They need to have a high energy level similar to their effort in Game 3. They need to play great defense. And they need to have tremendous ball movement, share it, and get as many guys involved as possible on the offensive end of the floor. If they can do these three things and have a good shooting night they have a chance to even this series at 2-2.
Bucks win Game 4