With Brandon Jennings missing the game with a sore Achilles’ tendon, the Bucks got a glimpse of Monta Ellis, full-time point guard. Ellis stuffed the stat sheet, led Milwaukee through half the game swimmingly, then things fell apart in a 109-104 loss.
Ellis led the Bucks with 27 points, a career-high 17 assists, and 5 steals. His 8 rebounds were only one shy of Ekpe Udoh’s team-high mark. Only one NBA player had done that in a game since the 1985-86 season: Magic Johnson, and even Johnson had only done it once since then.
Ultimately, the game didn’t mean much for the Bucks, except that it prolonged their losing streaks on the road (eight games) and overall (three games) with just three games remaining in the regular season to shake the trend.
Ersan Ilyasova also set a career-high with six three-pointers, including five in the first half. He finished with 25 points. The Bucks made 11 of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half.
While Ellis and Ilyasova rode high to start the game, they were just as responsible for some of the pitfalls of the second half. Their counterparts, Jeff Teague (24 points, 10 assists) and Josh Smith (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks) stormed back to match and later surpass their own production.
The Bucks had a 14-point advantage at halftime, and they quickly added five points to it after the third quarter started. But then they drowned in a flood of turnovers. Ellis committed two as he struggled to get the Bucks into their halfcourt offense. Dunleavy threw away two more possessions with bad passes later in the quarter.
The Hawks savaged the Bucks’ slender defenders in the game’s deciding moments. Ivan Johnson, Al Horford, and Smith bulled their way through John Henson and Ersan Ilyasova. Over the final seven minutes of the game, Atlanta scored seven field goals and all seven of them came from within five feet of the rim.
Larry Sanders missed the game with a sore back.
Ish Smith scored 10 points and spelled Monta Ellis from part of the point guard duties in the second half. Ellis played 44 minutes in the game even though the Bucks are already playoff bound and all but locked into the #8 seed.
For the record, here’s Magic Johnson’s 31/17/8/5 stat line from a 1987 game against the Warriors