Horford leads Hawks to dramatic win over Bucks

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Horford leads Hawks to dramatic win over Bucks

Get your popcorn ready. The Hawks and Bucks play three more times this season.

Al Horford scored with 5.9 seconds remaining and the Hawks survived a last-second shot for a dramatic 103-102 victory over the Bucks Saturday night at the Bradley Center. The back-and-forth game featured 18 lead changes, 13 ties, a 10-point deficit erased in the final six minutes, two franchise records, five stitches, plenty of words exchanged and a post-game ruckus.

Horford’s dunk, on a pass from Josh Smith, gave the Hawks a 101-100 lead with 1:28 remaining after they had trailed by 10 points with 6:43 remaining. The Buck re-gained the lead on a Monta Ellis driving layup with 10.8 seconds left. Following a timeout, Horford scored in the post over the Buck’s Larry Sanders for the game-winner.

“We were trying to go to Devin (Harris),” said Horford, who required stitches following the game over his right eye from an elbow. “I was trying to give Devin a handoff but they played that real good. The second option was to drop down and go. I went ahead. (Sanders) was conscious of not fouling. I made a strong move to the basket.”

Ellis just missed a fadeaway jumper with Harris draped on him at the buzzer and the Hawks could celebrate the start of a six-game road trip.

Following the game, Sanders grabbed Zaza Pachulia from behind as the team’s came together at midcourt. The Bucks were upset after Pachulia was called for a Flagrant Foul I earlier in the fourth quarter on John Henson.

Pachulia would not discuss the post-game issue other than to say, “They are mad because they lost.”

Pachulia, who set a franchise record for offensive rebounds in a quarter with seven the second, was called for the flagrant foul after an officials review of the play. The Bucks led by seven, 86-79, before the foul. Henson made one free throw and Mike Dunleavy scored on the ensuing possession and the Hawks faced the double-digit deficit. Following the foul, Samuel Dalembert got in Pachulia’s face and there was plenty of words and finger-pointing.

“I was just trying to foul him,” Pachulia said. “He had a wide-open layup. It was a crucial situation and I didn’t want to give him the layup. The explanation was that I hit him in the face. I was just trying not to let him score. When two big guys come together, there is contact. There was nothing intentional. If my hand came to his face that’s because there was contact. I’m not worried about it. We won the game. It was a great game.”

The Hawks (31-23) won their second straight game and fifth in the past seven. They placed four players in double figures led by Horford and Jeff Teague with game-high 23 points. Horford added 11 rebounds. Harris (21 points) and Smith (15 points, 13 rebounds) were the others. Pachulia finished with 11 rebounds, eight on the offensive end.

It was the fifth straight 20-plus scoring game for Horford, a career-best. Over those five games, Horford is averaging 24.2 points, 10.0 rebounds on .679 shooting.

The Hawks also established a franchise record with their 22nd game this season with 10 or more 3-pointers. The Hawks were 14 of 28 from long range.

“This is a really, really quality win for us,” coach Larry Drew said. “… I’m really proud our guys didn’t panic when we were down by 10.”

The Bucks (26-28) lost their third straight and ninth in the past 11 games. Ersan Ilyasova led six double-digit scorers with 19 points. The Hawks held the guard duo of Brandon Jennings and Ellis to a combined 25 points.

The teams play twice more in March and once in April after the late start of the season series.

The Bucks took an 80-76 lead into the final quarter. The lead would grow before the Hawks stormed back in the final six minutes.

“I told the guys, ‘Listen, we fought too hard in this game to just give it away. Let’s just keep staying with it and grinding it out,’” Horford said. “Even though we made some mistakes we stuck together and made plays down the stretch.”

The Hawks took a 54-53 lead into halftime, thanks to some long-range shooting in the second quarter. The Hawks erased an eight-point first-quarter deficit by making 7 of 10 3-pointers in the second. Kyle Korver, John Jenkins, Smith, Teague and Harris all had 3-pointers. Korver extended his franchise record streak to 49 games with a 3-pointer. Dan Barros holds the NBA record with 89 straight games, set from Dec. 23, 1994 to Jan. 10, 1996.

Pachulia surpassed Kevin Willis and John Drew, who each had six, for the offensive rebound record.

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