Hawks turn to ‘D’ to take series from Bucks

ATLANTA, GA. – As hard as it was to imagine after the Atlanta Hawks had the meltdown of the decade and blew a sure NBA photo fileswin in Game 5, losing that game may be a blessing in disguise.

Adjustments had to be made after that debacle and the Hawks were forced to come out and play defense to win the next two games against the Milwaukee Bucks, one on the road, to take the best-of-seven series 4 games to 3.

With their backs to the wall after the Game 5 loss, the Hawks clamped down defensively and held the Bucks to a franchise low 69 points for an 83-69 win in Game 6 and came out playing defense again on Sunday, coasting to 95-74 win at the Highlight Factory.

With the win, the Hawks move on to face No. 2 seed Orlando and should take that defensive mindset with them when they face the Magic on Tuesday.

Playing in the first NBA playoffs of his career, NBA sixth man award winner Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 22 points on Sunday, just two days after he netted a game-high 24 on the road in Milwaukee in Game 6.

Crawford has spent his career on struggling teams and is enjoying the atmosphere of the playoffs.

“It’s just so much fun,” said Crawford. “It’s like walking on air.”

Crawford nailed 8 out of 16 shots, including two outside the arch while Al Horford added 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks simply outplayed the Bucks, maintaining a double digit lead throughout much of the game while dominating the boards on both ends of the court.

Of the other starters, Mike Bibby scored 15 points, Josh Smith added 15 and Joe Johnson continued to struggle from the field hitting just 4-of-14 for 8 points.

“We let [the fans] down in Game 5,” Josh Smith said. “We enjoyed every minute of this.”

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