(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks are in the thick of the Eastern
Conference playoff race and will take their push to the road Saturday, when
they open a six-game trek against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Hawks are sixth in the East standings and sit only 1 1/2 games off the
fourth spot. They have won four of six overall and recorded a 122-108 victory
versus the Sacramento Kings Friday night as Josh Smith scored 18 points and
Jeff Teague posted 20 and 12 assists to lead the way.
Smith, of course, was the subject of trade rumors and remained in Atlanta
after Thursday's deadline. He was rumored to be headed to tonight's
"I'm glad I'm here," Smith said. "We've got to think about moving forward and
keep pushing for better playoff position."
The Bucks instead landed J.J. Redick, who is expected to make his debut
Saturday versus the Hawks.
Atlanta is 21-7 when scoring 100-plus points and 25-2 when leading into the
fourth quarter. It has won two in a row on the road and owns a 12-13 mark away
from Philips Arena this season.
Milwaukee is also in the postseason hunt, sitting eighth in the standings and
two games off the seventh spot, and will try to bounce back from a recent loss
to the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.
Brandon Jennings made 12-of-18 shots and finished with 31 points and 11
assists. Monta Ellis netted 14 points, while Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova
had a double-double apiece for the Bucks, losers in six of seven games.
Sanders posted 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, and Ilyasova compiled
12 points and 12 boards.
Jennings also added 11 assists for his seventh double-double of the season. He
has scored 30-plus points in back-to-back games and eight times this season.
The Bucks blew a 54-42 halftime lead and were swept by the Nets in the home-
"Tonight, I think fatigue caught up to us a little bit, but I'm not going to
blame it on that," said Sanders, who has blocked at least one shot in 35
straight games and has five or more in his last four games played.
Sanders leads the NBA with 3.26 blocks per game and may get some new teammates
Saturday night. Newly-acquired guards Redick and Ish Smith and forward/center
Gustavo Ayon are expected to make their Milwaukee debuts versus the Hawks and
came over via trade with Orlando for forward Tobias Harris and guards Doron
Lamb and Beno Udrih.
"My focus right now is helping this team secure a playoff spot and hopefully a
higher playoff spot than the eighth seed, and making a playoff run with this
team," Redick said. "I'm very happy to be back in the mix and to be on a
playoff team. I have that playoff experience and I think I can help this team
in that regard."
Redick and the Bucks will head to Texas for a two-game tour through Dallas and
Houston next week.
Milwaukee and Atlanta are meeting for the first time this season. The Hawks
went 2-1 in last season's series and have won four of the past six meetings
between the teams.
The Sports Network