Teague, Horford lead Hawks past Bucks 98-90
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By PAUL NEWBERRY
ATLANTA (AP) Jeff Teague scored 27 points and Al Horford had 26, taking control after a sluggish first quarter to lead the Atlanta Hawks past the Milwaukee Bucks 98-90 Wednesday night.
Teague scored 11 points in the second quarter and a dozen more in the third as the Hawks pushed out to a 77-59 lead. Horford scored 10 points in the final period and finished with 15 rebounds, stepping up to help the Hawks hold off a Milwaukee comeback.
Led by Brandon Jennings with 21 points, Bucks closed to 94-90. But Jennings missed a free throw that could have made it a one-possession game, then came up short on a tough jumper with Teague in his face. Josh Smith clinched it by making two free throws with 27.9 seconds left.
Smith also had a double-double, scoring just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting but helping out with a season-high 16 rebounds. Devin Harris added 15 points.
The Bucks shot just 37 percent from the field, unable to take advantage even when the Hawks let them back in the game. Atlanta won despite turning it over 17 times, leading to 19 points for Milwaukee.
Coming off an ugly performance against Dallas, the Hawks picked up a much needed home win in their bid for home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Bucks still have a comfortable lead for the final playoff spot in the East but fell 3 1/2 games behind the Hawks in the tightly bunched field, which is essentially the Miami Heat and everyone else.
"This game has major importance," coach Larry Drew said beforehand. "It's got to be playoff intensity from the beginning."
Neither team played with much urgency in the opening quarter, which ended with the score tied at 18. The Hawks made only 6 of 20 from the field, while the Bucks were 8 of 32.
Teague came alive in the second, knocking down a couple of 3-pointers to help the Hawks to a 48-43 lead at the break. With the point guard continuing to knock down shots, Atlanta stretched the advantage throughout the third and appeared to be comfortably in front heading to the final period.
Milwaukee, which had beaten Portland at home the previous night, found some energy in the fourth but couldn't get any closer than four.
Larry Sanders had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks. J.J. Redick added 18 points and Mike Dunleavy had 10.
NOTES: Kyle Korver extended his Hawks record to 61 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer. He knocked down a couple of treys in the second quarter. ... San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick watched the game from a front-row seat at center court. ... Atlanta G DeShawn Stevenson went out in the first half with a lower right leg contusion. He returned briefly to the bench, but went back to the locker room for more treatment. ... F Ersan Ilyasova (left hip pain) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (sprained toe) did not make the trip for Milwaukee. ... These teams will see plenty of each other in the closing month of the season. They play again Sunday in Milwaukee, then finish up the season series in Atlanta on April 12.
Updated March 20, 2013