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Hawks-Bucks Preview

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The Milwaukee Bucks were in discussions earlier this week to acquire Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks. That deal never materialized, so the Bucks picked up a different player they hope can help them make the playoffs.

J.J. Redick is expected to make his Bucks debut Saturday night when Smith and the Hawks open their longest road trip of the season.

With Atlanta shopping Smith, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at season's end, the Bucks were one of the teams in trade talks to acquire the Hawks' leading scorer and shot blocker.

"There was never a true offer on the table from Atlanta," Milwaukee general manager John Hammond said. "They never said this is exactly what it will take to get a deal done, but we just continued to negotiate, talk and exchange ideas until the very last moment. It was a possibility."

Smith might have been a nice addition to the Bucks' frontcourt, but instead, the team is welcoming one of the top 3-point shooters in the NBA.

Redick was acquired from Orlando on Thursday along with center Gustavo Ayon and point guard Ish Smith in exchange for rookie Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris.

Redick, who like Smith is in the final year of his deal, is averaging a career-high 15.1 points with a career-best 117 3s. The former first-round pick sees no problem playing alongside starting guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, who have accounted for 39.6 percent of the Bucks' field-goal attempts.

"I don't need the ball in my hands a lot," said Redick, whose 45.0 percent shooting from the field is the best of his seven-year career. "I don't need a lot of touches, a lot of dribbles. That's not my game."

While the Bucks (26-27) are hoping Redick's addition can help them at least hang on to their current No. 8 position in the East, the Hawks (30-23) are trying to get closer to the top. They're one game behind Chicago and 1 1/2 back of Brooklyn for fourth place.

This is the first meeting with Milwaukee this season and the opener of a six-game trip for Atlanta, which defeated Sacramento 122-108 on Friday for its third win in four games.

"I'm glad I'm here," said Smith, who had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. "We've got to think about moving forward and keep pushing for better playoff position."

The Bucks have similar thoughts but have lost eight of 10, and they'll be making their run without a player who would have added great versatility. Smith is averaging 8.6 boards, and Milwaukee has outrebounded only one of its last 11 opponents.

"I really thought we were going to get Josh Smith," said Jennings, who averaged 23.7 points and 9.0 assists as the Bucks dropped two of three to Atlanta last season. "Just the fact the trade talks said he wanted to play in Milwaukee and things like that. It didn't happen, so we have to see Josh Smith tomorrow."

The Bucks might not be looking forward to that matchup, as Smith is averaging 20.8 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while posting five consecutive double-doubles against Milwaukee.

Jennings has totaled 65 points in two games since the All-Star break, but the Bucks were swept in a home-and-home set with the Nets.

Tagged: Hawks, Bucks, Magic, Josh Smith, J.J. Redick, Brandon Jennings, Ish Smith

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