The Hawks pulled out a victory they had to have Friday.
Vladimir Radmanovic made a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go to lift the Hawks to a 99-94 victory over the Bucks at Philips Arena.
The score was tied at 92-92 with 1:16 left to play before a Josh Smith dunk and the decisive Radmanovic 3-pointer. Smith blocked a Drew Gooden low-post shot with 7.3 seconds left, and the Hawks iced the game at the free-throw line. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the Bucks 34-18.
The Hawks (21-15), playing without leading scorer Joe Johnson and reserve Willie Green, earned their fifth win the past 14 games.
Smith led the Hawks with 24 points and 19 rebounds. The Hawks improved to 10-0 when Smith scores 20 or more points.
Jeff Teague and Jannero Pargo each scored 11 points. Tracy McGrady had nine points and a season-high 11 rebounds.
Brandon Jennings led the Bucks (14-22) with a game-high 34 points. Gooden added 24 points.
The Hawks went on a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter to trim the Bucks’ once double-digit lead to three points on back-to-back 3-pointers by Radmanovic and McGrady.
After a Jennings’ free throw, Pargo made back-to-back jumpers to give the Hawks an 80-79 lead, their first advantage since they led 35-34 with 4:36 left in the second quarter.
Two more jumpers by Pargo and three consecutive points by Jerry Stackhouse, and the Hawks led by five with just under 4:30 to play. Pargo scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 51-39 lead at the intermission. Jennings scored eight consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in 27 seconds of the stretch. The Hawks scored just 12 points in the second quarter — tying their season-low for the that quarter.
Turnovers plagued the Hawks in the first half. They had 17 turnovers in the first 24 minutes, just eight off their season-high of 25. They had 21 turnovers by the end of the third quarter.
Hawks coach Larry Drew has been wary of his team not playing with efficiency.
“Sometimes we get caught up in that too much instead of just coming down and making the simple play,” Drew said before the game. “And we harp on it and harp on it and harp on it about being more efficient. Being more efficient just means coming down and making a simple play. When you don’t, to me, that’s just a lack of focus.”
Smith had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first half for the Hawks — his 17th double-double of the season. He had 11 points in the first quarter, including two three-point plays.
The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. The Hawks stormed back and cut the deficit to five points, at 69-64, on a Marvin Williams 3-pointer. Jennings went right back to work and scored another eight straight points, including two more 3-pointers, to push the lead back to 12 points.
The Hawks conclude a four-game homestand Saturday against the Thunder, with the NBA’s best record, before embarking on a season-long six-game, 10-day road trip.
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