Giving Kyle Korver two good looks from beyond the arc on one possession is usually a recipe for disaster. It certainly was for the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.
Korver missed a 3-point attempt late in the fourth quarter, but Elton Brand grabbed the offensive rebound. The ball eventually swung back to Korver and it was nothing but net.
The shot not only put Atlanta up 90-89 with 2:15 left but began a decisive 9-0 run for the Hawks in a 102-97 victory over the Bucks at Philips Arena.
"Two for a dollar, he’s always going to make that," Hawks guard Jeff Teague said of Korver’s second chance. "He made a big shot for us. He’s been making big shots consistently since he’s been in Atlanta. That’s what we expect for him."
Milwaukee did a good job on Korver for most of the game, but the NBA’s best 3-point shooter got away from the Bucks in the fourth quarter. Korver hit three of his four shots, including two of three from beyond the arc, to score 12 points in the final quarter.
"You just can’t relax for a moment or he’ll make you pay," Bucks coach Larry Drew said "He made us pay in the second half."
The triple off the reload felt like a dagger in the side of the Bucks. Milwaukee led by as many as 13 points in the first half, only to shoot just 4-of-21 in the third quarter to trail by one entering the fourth.
After a see-saw fourth quarter that had the lead change hands five times, the Bucks defended well on the possession Korver ended up hitting the big shot on. Simply grabbing a rebound would have left them in good shape.
"It comes down to just making plays," Drew said. "That’s a play that has to be completed. They really banged the boards and we couldn’t come up with the ball.
"When you don’t come up with the rebound in that case, usually the floor is spread. That’s one of the highest percentage shots to take there because the defense is usually in the lane. They just got the rebound, threw it back out to him. He got an opportunity to get his feet set and lace it up. You can’t even put him in that position."
It was another fantastic start wasted by the Bucks, as Milwaukee hit 20 of its first 35 shots and turned 11 first-half turnovers by Atlanta into 16 points. But the Bucks again couldn’t put together a consistent 48 minutes.
Recent games have been one good half mixed with a poor one, and the Bucks have been left to hope the good 24 minutes is better than the bad 24 minutes. That’s usually not the case.
"We got a little out of character again," Drew said. "It takes just a small stretch where you lose that momentum. They came back and eventually took the lead. We had an opportunity. We just didn’t make the best of it."
Drew’s return: It was a homecoming of sorts for Drew on Thursday, as the first-year Bucks coach made his first trip back to Atlanta since being let go as Hawks coach following last season.
Drew spent nine seasons in Atlanta, six as an assistant coach and the last three as the team’s head coach. The Hawks made the playoffs six times with Drew on the bench, including all three years he was sitting in the first chair.
"It’s good to come back to Atlanta to see all the familiar faces I had a chance to work with the past nine years," Drew said. "Seeing the people on the talk, seeing all the security people, all the ushers that work here, all the people along the scorer’s table — just all the people that I saw on a daily basis and got to know. It was good to come back."
Having fun: The Hawks haven’t been playing well of late, so one can forgive Teague for letting out some emotion after a thunderous dunk that all but sealed a victory.
Teague pumped his chest and stared in the direction of the Bucks bench after throwing one down to put Atlanta up 96-89 with 27.4 left.
His former coach had a little fun with him.
"When he came back on the floor I told him if he was playing I would have put him on his back," Drew said. "I was just kidding with him. He made a nice play down the middle."
Drew and the Bucks tried to get Teague to come to Milwaukee this offseason, signing the point guard to a four-year, $32 million offer sheet. Atlanta didn’t take long to match and is probably glad it did.
Teague, who scored 22 points with eight assists on Thursday, is averaging 15.9 points and 6.9 assists per game in his fourth NBA season.