How the Hawks defeated the Bucks without Howard, Sefolosha

Five observations from the Hawks’ 107-100 win over the Bucks Wednesday night.

1. The Hawks stymied the Bucks in the second quarter by allowing just nine points. The quarter started with a 19-0 run as the Bucks failed to score over a span of 6:09.

“I thought the ball movement offensively, we were really moving the ball and getting great looks,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It gave us great energy and picked up our defense. We were able to get a bunch of stops and hold them to nine points. Anytime you have a nine-point quarter and the ball is hopping, those are big quarters. They change games.”

The Hawks led by as many as 24 points in the quarter but had to hold on to secure the victory.

At one point in the 19-0 run, Taurean Prince and Tim Hardaway Jr. had big-time dunks that brought fans to their feet.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Prince said.

2. Paul Millsap did it again. A night after taking on the defensive challenge of Heat center Hassan Whiteside late in a victory, he covered Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo late in the fourth quarter to stop a comeback.

“Just accept the challenge,” Millsap said. “I love this team. I love the fight that we have. Everybody is competitive and everybody wants to win.”

But did he ask for the challenge as he did the night before?

“I just did it,” Millsap said.

Millsap led the Hawks with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

3. Mike Muscala stepped right in for the injured Dwight Howard. Getting the start, Muscala finished with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and a block in 33 minutes, one minute off his career high.

“Muskie continues to play really well,” Budenholzer said. “It’s interesting for him to play (33) minutes. It’s a good thing the game ended at 48 (minutes). He gave us all he had.”

Muscala would have nothing to do with being tired.

“I’ll have to talk to coach,” Muscala said with smile when informed of Budenholzer’s comment. “I’m alright. I don’t want him to think I’m too tired.”

While Muscala started, he punctuated the Hawks’ depth once again. They played 10 players and all scored at least four points. The bench totaled 35 points even with Thabo Sefolosha also sitting out injured.

4. The Hawks, even being second in the NBA in defense, are still learning to play together. Sure they had a nine-point quarter. However, they also allowed second half quarters of 35 and 30 points.

“We’ve got to be better in the second half, to be honest with you,” Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “Giving up 30 points in each quarter is unacceptable.”

Kyle Korver said improving the team defense is still a priority.

“Growth of us we keep on giving a quarter or two of really great defense but we keep on having a quarter, quarter and a half of sloppy defense,” Korver said. “It’s just discipline and focus. We are early in the season, we’ll take where we are at. We all see where we can be.”

5. Even wearing a different uniform, Matthew Dellavedova is still public enemy No. 1 in Atlanta. The Bucks guard was booed by the Philips Arena crowd every time he touched the ball. The Hawks faithful remember two seasons ago when Dellavedova, then with the Cavaliers, got tangled with Al Horford, causing his ejection, and with Korver, ending his season.

It looks like Dellavedova can count on similar treatment in the future.