In likely their biggest win of the year, the Hawks (34-27) pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Bucks 111-104 Sunday at State Farm Arena.
Next up, on the second half of a back-to-back, the Hawks will play Monday in Detroit.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. This was a terrific fourth-quarter comeback for the Hawks, who are still missing their star, Trae Young, with a left ankle sprain.
After the Bucks kept them at arm’s length for most of the game, the Hawks started knocking down 3-pointers at will, finally mustering the scoring pop to take the lead. Two 3′s by Lou Williams, and a third by Bogdan Bogdanovic, put them up 91-89 with 5:54 to play. They ended up making seven 3-point attempts in a row to go up 104-92 — going 8-11 (72.7%) from beyond the arc in the fourth — en route to scoring a whopping 41 points while holding the Bucks to 26.
Williams scored all 15 of his points in the fourth (going 4-4 from 3), adding six assists overall. Bogdanovic scored 12 of his 32 points in the fourth (going 4-5 from 3). The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points total, but was limited to just seven in the fourth.
“We had a big fourth quarter, the ball started to fall for us, defensively, we were able to get stops, and get control of this game,” interim coach Nate McMillan said. “You’re starting to see, I think, the growth of this team. We’re going to have to continue to show that growth and play that type of basketball, because that’s where we’re going.”
2. Twice in a row, the Hawks have shown they’re deep enough to win while incredibly shorthanded (they beat Miami Friday without both Young and Clint Capela, and they’ve been without De’Andre Hunter long-term). This one came against the No. 3 team in the East. This is the kind of win that should give the Hawks a confidence boost, McMillan thinks: “It should give them confidence that if we continue to do this, and I think we can continue to get better, and we certainly when we get healthier the strength should be in our numbers, but if we play the game like this, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win.”
This kicked off a tough week, during which the Hawks will play five games in seven days. That includes two games Wednesday and Friday in Philadelphia, the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference. After this difficult stretch of the schedule, they will have just seven regular season games left.
3. A backcourt of Kevin Huerter and Bogdanovic led the way on offense for most of the game, keeping the Hawks in it even before that fourth quarter push.
Bogdanovic continues his hot shooting streak, going 6-11 from 3-point range, to maintain his 50% clip from 3 in April. He also added three steals and three assists. Huerter had 20 points and three assists. John Collins added 18 points and five rebounds.
4. The Hawks didn’t shoot a free throw until Bogdanovic finally got to the line at the 8:57 mark of the third quarter — the whistle often not going their way in the first half. However, they went 18-23 from the line in the second half, which matched the exact same amount the Bucks shot all game.
McMillan thought the Hawks’ aggression level in the second half contributed to the change: “I thought we needed to be more aggressive attacking the basket. I thought we settled in that first half and we had zero free-throw attempts, so the aggressive play I think forced the officials to have to call fouls and we were able to get to the free-throw line 23 times in that second half, so the change in officiating I think was due to the change in our style of play.”
5. In a little bit of good news for the injury-plagued Hawks, Capela returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s win against the Heat with a back contusion suffered in Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks. Capela added six points and 14 rebounds Sunday. This also was Danilo Gallinari’s second game back from injury (right foot soreness). That’s two healthy bodies back at a time when the Hawks desperately need them. Gallinari added 15 points off the bench.
Stat of the game
70.6% (or 12-17, what the Hawks shot from the field in a red-hot fourth quarter)
Star of the game
Williams (scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, hitting back-to-back 3′s to give the Hawks their first lead in the fourth)
“It just shows that we can compete at a high level, and it’s going to be needed.” (Williams on what this win proves for the Hawks)