Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young reacts as Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo comes away with the defensive rebound during the first half in a NBA basketball game at State Farm Arena on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Hawks better but still no match for Bucks

The Bucks put a hurting on the Hawks.

At least this time, it took a little more time.

The Bucks defeated the Hawks 133-114 Sunday afternoon at State Farm Arena. The victory required a second-half surge. Earlier this month, the Bucks took 43-14 lead after the first quarter for a 32-point win in Milwaukee.

The Hawks (13-30) were led by Trae Young with 26 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. John Collins had another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. DeAndre Bembry had 18 points and seven rebounds.

The loss drops the Hawks to 7-7 over their past 14 games.

The Bucks (30-12) improved on their NBA second-best record. They are 8-2 in their past 10 games. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 33 points. Eric Bledsoe added 24 points.

Turnovers were again an issue for the Hawks. They had 24 turnovers that led to 36 Bucks’ points. Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce spoke of the turnover issue that Hawks have had all season before the game. He had to speak about it after the game as well.

“Same old story, too many turnovers,” Pierce said after the game. “Too many live ball turnovers where they were just able to convert. Twenty four turnovers for 36 points is just too much. That’s really the separation in the game.”

Bembry had a team-high six turnovers. Young had four.

“It’s a better feeling the way we competed,” Young said of comparison between the previous game against the Bucks. “We turned the ball over way too much. That was a big reason they were able to expand their lead and get a big lead on us.”

The Bucks broke open a back-and-forth game with a 13-6 run to end the first half. They took their biggest lead of the game of nine points, 64-55, into intermission.

The Bucks pushed their lead to as many as 14 points late in the third quarter. They would lead by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter.

“It’s definitely a recurring problem,” Kevin Huerter said. “I’d like to think the guys are just trying to make plays but we get a little too careless with some possessions.”

Taurean Prince returned after missing the past 18 games with a left ankle sprain. The small forward did not start and was to be on a 12-minute restriction. Prince had seven points in 11 minutes.

The Hawks started their three rookie first-round draft picks for the second time this season. Omari Spellman started at center for the injured Dewayne Dedmon and joined Young and Huerter. Spellman finished with 13 points, including four 3-pointers.

“I thought Omari probably had his best game,” Pierce said.

Spellman hit two of this 3-pointers in the opening quarter in the starting assignment. Spellman also drew the defensive assignment of guarding Antetokounmpo early in the game.

“For me, I just wanted to come out and do the things coach asked me to do,” Spellman said. “He wanted me to defend, rebound and compete. That’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to play as hard as I can.”

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