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Korver comes through late to help Hawks defeat Bucks

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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ATLANTA — Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver found the ideal time to get his second wind following a two-week road trip.

The veteran scored seven of his 15 points in the final two minutes to help the Hawks earn a 102-97 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

“We’ll take all the wins we can get right now,” Korver said. “The first game back from a long road trip is notoriously a trap game. We just didn’t come out with the right energy and focus that we needed. … I just got open at the end.”

Korver made a 3-pointer to give Atlanta a 90-89 lead, then hit an off-balance baseline jumper with 1:11 left to give the Hawks a five-point lead. Korver scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“He found a way to manufacture his shot,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He found his energy late and fought through and made some shots to help us win.”

Korver had missed a 3-pointer prior to making the go-ahead basket. But center Elton Brand got the rebound and triggered the ball back to Korver, who didn’t miss the mulligan.

“We missed a rebound, they kicked the ball out and he got his feet set,” Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. “It’s just a situation that comes down to making plays. You can’t leave a guy like that open or even put him in that position. If he’s not the best shooter in our league, he’s one of the top three.”

The win was the second straight for Atlanta, which had lost 14 of its last 16. The Hawks (28-35) posted consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and they recorded their sixth consecutive win over the Bucks.

“It was a good win. It wasn’t real pretty but it was important to get it tonight,” Budenholzer said. “We’re going to have to play better going forward.”

Atlanta also got 22 points and eight assists from point guard Jeff Teague, who added an emphatic dunk with 27 seconds left that iced the game. Forward Paul Millsap scored 17, and forward DeMarre Carroll added 15 points. Millsap pulled a team-high eight rebounds.

Milwaukee (13-52) was led by forward Ersan Ilyasova, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie guard Brandon Knight, who scored 20 points. Center John Henson and forward Jeff Adrien each came off the bench and scored 12.

The lead changed 14 times in the fourth quarter before Atlanta was able to take the lead for good on Korver’s 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining. Korver, who averages 12.2 points, averaged 19 over his past three games.

Milwaukee scored the first six points of the game, but Atlanta came back to catch and pass the Bucks at 15-12 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Millsap and Carroll. The Bucks closed the period by scoring the final 10 points to take a 33-20 lead after one quarter.

“I thought in the first half we did a good job offensively,” Drew said. “Late in the second quarter, we got a little complacent.”

The Hawks closed to within a point when guard Dennis Schroder made a four-footer to cut the lead to 35-34 with 8:24 left. But the Bucks responded by outscoring Atlanta 20-6 to take its largest lead at 53-40. Atlanta closed with a 7-0 run and cut the margin to 53-47 at intermission.

Milwaukee stretched its lead to 66-57 with 4:04 left in the third quarter before Atlanta staged a rally. The Hawks outscored the Bucks 11-1 and took their first lead of the game when guard Shelvin Mack scored on a fast-break layup with 35 seconds remaining to give Atlanta a 68-67 lead after three periods.

Budenholzer said Atlanta’s defense changed the tone of the game in the third period. The Hawks limited the Bucks to 19.0 percent from the floor on 4-for-21 shooting and only 14 points that quarter.

“The defense in the third quarter picked us up and allowed us to get back in the game,” Budenholzer said. “We keep talking about getting better on defense and it’s time to carry that over to the court.”

NOTES: Atlanta C Al Horford (right pectoral) spoke publicly for the first time since his season-ending surgery. Horford said his rehab was progressing well, but said he would not be able to return this season, even if the Hawks reached the second round of the playoffs. Atlanta G Lou Williams missed the morning shoot-around because of an unspecified family issue and was not dressed for the game. Williams has not played the last three games because of a coach’s decision. … Milwaukee C Zaza Pachulia, who played eight seasons for Atlanta, said he had 50 family members and friends in the stands in his first game back in Atlanta. The Hawks ran a “thank-you” video for Pachulia on the scoreboard at the first break. … Atlanta plays again Saturday at home against the Denver Nuggets. Milwaukee plays the Knicks in New York on Saturday.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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