On Monday, the Hawks did that, and McMillan praised the team’s guards for managing the game for 48 minutes.
“They’re going to defend your first,” McMillan said. “And your second option, we need to play in our third and fourth option, make them defend and not, you know, take quick shots against their defense. And I thought we did a good job of doing that, getting them off balance, of keeping pressure on their defense, but pushing the ball down (the) floor (and) seeing if we could get something easy.”
2. The Hawks had another strong night from Clint Capela, who scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds. It’s the sixth time in seven games that Capela has picked up a double-double.
Capela did all of that while trying to limit Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 12 points in the first half on 4-of-10 shooting. Capela and his teammates did a good job of slowing Antetokounmpo’s drives to the baskets by picking him up on the perimeter to limit his ability to pick up speed.
“Well, right away, I knew that on the road against a team like that, we got to be (the) aggressor,” Capela said. “It starts on defense for us. Tonight, yeah, I was trying to set the tone. Like I said, trying to be the anchor of the defense. My goal is to be the best defensive player in this league, and I take pride in that every night by being the aggressor.”
Through 14 games, Capela has averaged 10.4 points and 12 rebounds, with McMillan saying several times he looks like he did two seasons ago.
3. With Capela providing a defensive anchor, Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter got the team off to a strong start offensively. He scored nine points in his first nine minutes, helping the Hawks take a five-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
Hunter did not miss a shot in his first stint. He provided another spark in the third quarter as the Bucks tried to erase the Hawks’ 16-point lead.
The 24-year-old finished with 24 points on 6-of-15 shooting and took advantage of the team’s ball movement to get to the basket.
“When they swing the ball, when guys move the ball, it just brings energy to the team,” Hunter said. “The ball has energy, if you touch it, miss shots, make a shot, you know, you just feel the ball you get in the game. So, I think getting guys involved early and throughout the game, it definitely helps us offensively and defensively.”
4. The Hawks, of course, had to figure out ways to defend the Bucks while committing as few fouls as possible. But it seemed like an uphill battle with the Bucks getting to the line 24 times in the first half, compared with the Hawks’ six free-throw attempts.
Heading into Monday, the Bucks were averaging 23.3 free-throw attempts per game, which was good for 17th in the league. After Monday’s 41 attempts at the stripe, the Bucks rank eighth in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game.
So, the Hawks had to focus on not letting the whistles affect how they played the game. McMillan commended his team for not allowing the whistles to get to them.
5. Hawks rookie AJ Griffin got some extended minutes Monday. Last Monday when the teams squared off, Griffin scored a career-high 24 points and finished as the Hawks’ second-leading scorer.
In the 17 minutes Griffin played Monday, he didn’t quite recreate the magic. But he gave the Hawks some solid minutes on both sides of the ball.
“He’s been doing some good things for us,” McMillan said. “And I thought tonight, he came in and made a couple of shots, but defensively, he was pretty solid and a force.”
Griffin’s longer run left fewer minutes available, and veteran wing Justin Holiday was noticeably absent from the night’s rotation.
Stat to know
Monday’s win marked the Hawks’ first regular-season win in Milwaukee since Dec. 9, 2016.
“I was just trying to come up being aggressive. That’s what my team needs from me. It’s what the coaches (have) been telling me, and that’s what I’m trying to do every game.” – Hunter on his strong start
The Hawks host the Celtics on Wednesday night.