I woke up this morning and still had my doubts that the Bucks actually beat the Hawks in game 5 at Atlanta. It didn’t take long to see the constant update on ESPN that in fact the Bucks had beaten the Hawks, in Atlanta, where they rarely lose.
The effort put forth by the Bucks was again a big factor. Two of the more memorable examples were provide by Ersan on an offensive rebound from a free throw and saving a ball from going out of bounds from an errant pass. Those two plays led to five points which were obviously important in a four point game.
The defense was a big factor in keeping the Bucks in the game all night. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford were kept in check for the entire night, proving once again that you can let big men get theirs but you must win the guard war in this series. All of the Bucks contributed to the team defensive effort but John Salmons hounding of both Johnson and Crawford was very evident, and appreciated.
Coaching and Execution
Skiles continues to pull any string he can to squeak out any possible advantage. In the final four minutes while the Hawks played one on five the Bucks continued to run offensive sets, pick and rolls, anything to create movement towards the basket which led to a lot of free throws. The Hawks are what they are, an extremely talented collection of individuals who are very tough to beat when things go well. The Hawks are not a staple of execution, their immense talent often bails them out of poor possessions. The problem with that approach is things always toughen up in the playoffs, you must be able to execute.
While the Bucks are inferior to the Hawks in talent it cannot be questioned that the Bucks execute both offensively and defensively much better than the Hawks. The Hawks defense relies on blocks, the offense relies on an individual making a play. When things get tough your team has to have a fall back plan beyond a player making something happen because a good defensive team will eventually take something away.
What a win for the Bucks. The game 6 atmosphere at the Bradley Center will be unreal.