This picture above shows everyone thinking of a way to slow down Josh Smith. Well no one could think of a way Tuesday night in Atlanta. The guy just did everything to help the Hawks win. He blocked shots, stole balls, dunked on everyone, got crazy rebounds, and assisted many Hawks hoops. You hear all the talk about Joe Johnson being a fee agent, and if he leaves Atlanta this team won't be good anymore. My ass. Don't get me wrong Joe Johnson is a stud, but Smith just loves playing the game and he made a bigger impact on this team tonight.
This game was different from the first game of the series, at least in the first half. The Bucks were actually in this game at halftime. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute came out on fire for the Bucks as he scored eight of the first ten points for the Bucks. Things were looking good, until the Hawks got up 21-12, the same thing they did Saturday night. Well, the Bucks learned their lesson not to get behind early again as they went on a nice 8-0 run to get right back into the game. With 41 seconds left the Bucks trailed 20-22, before playing the worst final 41 seconds ever. Josh Smith scored six points in the final 32 seconds to give Atlanta a 28-20 lead after one.
So far in this series, Milwaukee has been giving up too many scoring runs to the Hawks, who are a team that loves to run. They need to limit the fast break points if they want to win any games in this series. The Hawks have a good half court offense, but they really love to run with this small line up. Al Horford is like a power forward so they really don't start a center. That is another reason I don't really think Kurt Thomas is the best man for the Bucks. I thought I would never say this but maybe Gadzuric would be the best start for the Bucks. Still, Milwaukee played a solid second quarter, and were only down by six at halftime.
The third quarter is when things got out of hand. The game of runs hurt the Bucks again as the Hawks started the second half on a 12-2 run. The Bucks just could not catch a break in the third, as they had shots rim out, and they didn't get any loose balls. It seemed that every ball would some how, some way, end up in the Hawks hands. Atlanta took a 14 point lead into the fourth, and this game looked all but over.
The Bucks cut the lead down to eight with 8:15 left in the quarter, so the Hawks took a timeout. The game never got closer than that the rest of the way. The Bucks did outscore the Hawks in the fourth, but that wasn't enough as the Hawks held on for the 96-86 win. So down 2-0 in the series the Bucks will have to get things going Saturday night if they want to put up a fight.
Ersan Ilyasova had a nice game for the Bucks with 13 points and 15 rebounds. The only problem is while he had a double double at half, he didn't do much in the second half of the game. He needs to be more consistent through out the whole game. Jerry Stackhouse also had 15 points off the bench to keep the Bucks in the game.
As far as the Hawks side of the box score, well it all came from the starters. I talked about Smith who had 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists. Joe Johnson had 27 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. Those were the top two guys, but the three other starters Horford, Bibby, and Williams all scored in double figures too.
The series is on its way to Milwaukee Saturday night as the Bucks look to turn things around. It doesn't look good right now if your a Bucks fan, but anything could happen. Saturday nights game will be on ESPN at 6:00 Central time.