NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Milwaukee
(Monday, April 12th)
Final Score: Atlanta 104, Milwaukee 96
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Joe Johnson led all scorers with 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds, as the Atlanta Hawks inched closer to clinching the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a 104-96 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
Marvin Williams donated 18 points and Al Horford went for 13 points and 12 boards for Atlanta, which will play either Miami or Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs.
Mike Bibby added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks, who have won three straight and will close out their regular season on Wednesday at home against Cleveland. Atlanta finished 19-22 on the road this year.
"Everything was solid, all the way from the beginning to the end," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We're going to need that the rest of the way as we go back home and face Cleveland on Wednesday. We have to start gearing up for the playoffs."
John Salmons ended with a team-best 28 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter for the Bucks, who dropped to sixth place in the East, one game behind Miami for fifth. The Heat defeated Philadelphia earlier on Monday. Milwaukee can still claim the fifth spot with a win at Boston in its regular- season finale on Wednesday, coupled with a Miami home loss to New Jersey.
Rookie sensation Brandon Jennings finished with 21 points and five assists, while Jerry Stackhouse had 13 points off the bench. The Bucks concluded 29-12 at home.
"We've got six quarters in a row now where we just haven't had our defensive intensity that we need," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "We started the game soft and that's a plus 50-win team, they're going to take advantage of that. As we always do, we tried to battle back but we could just never get any traction. Our goal was to be disruptive to them and we just never got that done tonight."
Atlanta set the pace early and led 30-21 after the opening quarter, then continued to stay in front for the entire second. Milwaukee closed to within one a couple of times, but the Hawks were ahead 55-48 heading into the locker room.
Salmons' three-pointer got the Bucks to within 63-59 with 6:53 to play in the third quarter, but the Hawks used an 8-2 run to go up by double-digits, 71-61, a short time later. Maurice Evans' jumper put the Hawks up 78-70 at the end of three.
Milwaukee trailed for the entire fourth quarter despite Luke Ridnour's two free throws that got his squad to within two, 89-87, with 4:50 left. Williams answered with a driving layup and Horford added a three-point play and a jumper as part of a 7-2 run to make it a 96-89 game with 3:12 to play. The Hawks fended off a late Milwaukee threat in the remaining time on the clock.
Atlanta won the season series 2-1..The Hawks had lost 18 of their last 21 trips to the Bradley Center entering the contest...Atlanta shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 7-of-16 from three-point range...The Bucks made only 38.7 percent of their shots and only 11-of-32 from beyond the arc...Ridnour ended with 10 points and five assists.
04/13 02:17:59 ET