No Howard, no problem as Hawks hold off Bucks

Turns out the Hawks are pretty good even without Dwight Howard.

With their starting center sidelined by injury, the Hawks pummeled and then held off the Bucks 107-100 Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks led by as many as 24 points in the rout fueled by an impressive second quarter.

The Hawks (9-2) won their sixth straight game as they played the second of back-to-back games following a win at the Heat Tuesday. The Hawks were also without key reserve Thabo Sefolosha who was also sidelined by a minor injury.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 21 points and eight rebounds. Mike Muscala, who started in place of Howard, finished with 16 points and five rebounds. The Hawks also got 13 points from Tim Hardaway Jr., 12 points from Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder and 11 points from Kyle Korver. Rookie Taurean Prince played 19 minutes and finished with eight points, including a thunderous dunk, and five rebounds.

The Hawks outscored the Bucks 31-9 in the second quarter, including a 19-0 run to start the period, to lead by as many as 17 points. During the start to the quarter, the Bucks missed their first 11 shots and were scoreless for 6:09. The nine points allowed were a season-low for any quarter.

The Hawks took a 52-35 lead into intermission after the drubbing. They allowed the Cavaliers (37), Kings (37) and Lakers (39) higher scoring quarters than the Bucks managed in the first half. The Bucks were 3 of 27 from the field and 0 of 9 from 3-point range during the dreadful second quarter. The Hawks played 10 different players in the quarter and all but one scored at least two points.

The Bucks made the game more interesting than many would have liked with a 35-point third quarter. They closed to within three points, 90-87, with under seven minutes to play. Korver hit a 3-pointer to get the Hawks back on track. He later hit another 3-pointer, from 34 feet, to put the Hawks up by eight, 100-92, with 4:41 to play.

The Bucks (5-5) were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo with 26 points and 15 rebounds and Jabari Parker with 23 points. The Bucks were well-rested having not played since Saturday but couldn’t overcome the poor second quarter.