MILWAUKEE — After suffering a strained hamstring earlier in the week, the Atlanta Hawks were prepared to face the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night without forward DeMarre Carroll.
But with point guard and leading scorer Jeff Teague out with a sprained ankle and the Hawks needing a boost after a blowout loss Friday against San Antonio, Carroll spent most of the day Saturday on the training table and was in the starting lineup.
The move paid off as Carroll scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts as the Hawks rolled to a 112-87 rout in front of an announced crowd of 15,879.
“When you have guys like Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver coming to you saying ‘we need you’ — those are two of our top players — it made me feel good and made me want to do anything I could to get on the court,” Carroll said. “To have your teammates tell you that, it means a lot.”
Carroll also pulled down six rebounds and handed out four assists and made things easier for Millsap, who led Atlanta with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and night after going 6-for-17 in the Hawks’ 105-79 loss.
“That’s the good thing about this league,” Millsap said. “You can play a game like last night but come out the next night and do something like this. It was real good for us.”
Atlanta had six players score in double figures.
Forward Mike Scott had 14 points, guard Kyle Korver and Carroll 12 each and forward Elton Brand 10 for the Hawks, who shot 53 percent from the field and were lethal from long range, making 13 of 26 3-pointers and turned a 60-45 game at halftime into a 33-point lead in the third quarter.
“That was something we talked about at halftime,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We wanted to have the same good mental toughness, the same attention to detail in the second half and tonight we were able to do that. That’s something we can reference in the future.”
Milwaukee (8-35) lost for the second straight night and for the 13th time in 15 games despite a stellar effort from point guard Brandon Knight, who led the Bucks with 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field with five 3-pointers.
Forward Khris Middleton had 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Forward John Henson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Caron Butler and center Miroslav Raduljica also had 10 points.
But while the Bucks shot 46 percent from the field, which was brought down with a 5-of-15 showing from forward Ersan Illyasoca (11 points), they couldn’t hold onto the ball, turning it over 20 times for 26 Atlanta points, leaving Bucks coach Larry Drew fuming.
“This is totally unacceptable, Drew said. “In the situation we’re in, my biggest concern is do we have anything inside that will allow us to compete at a high level. You got to have guys out there that are going to play hard.
“I saw times where possessions were taken off. I don’t care what the situation is from a win-to-loss standpoint; these guys are being paid to play hard and we didn’t play hard.”
Knight echoed the sentiment.
“We had a lack of energy and a lack of commitment to the game,” he said. “That’s what happens when you come out in the NBA and play against great players. They had a lot of guys out but they’re still an NBA team. We let our guard down and we’ve got to be better than that.”
The Bucks were shooting 58 percent from the field midway through the second quarter but went two for their next 10.
NOTES: Atlanta was without PG Jeff Teague, who sprained his left ankle Friday night against San Antonio and did not make the trip to Milwaukee. … Bucks F John Henson recorded his team-leading ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. … The Hawks, combined with Toronto’s loss earlier Saturday, moved into third place in the Eastern Conference. … Milwaukee has lost five straight to the Hawks. … Atlanta G Kyle Korver went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and now has at least one 3-pointer in 112 consecutive games.
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