By Buddy Grizzard
Initial feedback: A completely subjective and immediate response to the events of tonight's game, featuring a comment and rating, the latter on a scale of 1 to 10, on every player who saw the floor and the head coach, along with ephemera and miscellany as the author deems necessary.
Your ratings and commentary, dear reader, are welcomed in the comments to this post.
Joe Johnson: There is nothing wrong with going iso-Joe when it's working. Johnson continues to put this team on his back in the absence of Al Horford and against the Bucks he took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 28. 8/10
Josh Smith: The Josh Smith 2012 All-Star Campaign made a whistle stop in Milwaukee where he made the accustomed statements from long range to the usual, underwhelming effect. He did punctuate his remarks with what was likely the game-winning 3 after Teague passed up a wide open shot off a Joe Johnson double-team. Josh took the hot potato and buried it. 7/10
Jeff Teague: He started out the first quarter completely outplaying Brandon Jennings on both ends. He had 11 points, almost all attacking the basket, in the first quarter before Jannero Pargo subbed in with 3:03 to play. Teague is averaging as many shots at the basket as Derrick Rose, who is vastly more celebrated for it. Teague only had 4 points the rest of the way after Larry Drew, the master extinguisher of the hot hand, took him out in the first. Got to pace the kid after all the minutes he's played in his career. 6/10
Zaza Pachulia: Anybody who had any misgivings about my contention that Zaza can produce as a starting center in the NBA shall henceforth refer to Exhibit A. Pachulia completely outplayed Andrew Bogut, limiting him to 3-10 shooting on mostly straight-up man defense. In 38 minutes Zaza scored 9 points on 4-for-9 shooting with 14 rebounds. 7/10
Marvin Williams: Was quiet as a church mouse on a night when Mike Dunleavy and Ersan Ilyasova had big nights off the bench. Played 22 minutes, understandably the only starter to play fewer than 38. 3/10
Tracy McGrady: Continues to make steady (if rarely spectacular) contributions off the bench, chipping in 4 points, 3 rebounds and 5 huge assists. He had some isolation plays that were derailed by strong Bucks defense but he continues to be a wonderful free agent find. 6/10
Vladimir Radmanovic: After the bench mob gave back most of the lead the Hawks built with a strong opening by the starting unit, Drew wisely chose to ride his starters and not play any bench player other than McGrady more than 9 minutes. He had 6 points on 2-for-3 shooting from 3-point range but would have needed an elevator to get a rebound with Ilyasova in the game. 4/10
Willie Green: 1-for-4, 2 points in 7 minutes. 2/10
Jannero Pargo: Shot well hitting 2-for-3 for 4 points in 7 minutes but was wild with the ball as he came in and instantly killed the early momentum for the Hawks. 2/10
Ivan Johnson: Johnson seems like he's overwhelmed by having earned a rotation spot and playing not to screw up. That's screwing him up. The aggressive offensive play that got him where he is has not been in evidence in several outings, and he passed open a wide-open elbow jumper to start the 4th, the possession ending in a contested Joe Johnson corner three that missed, followed by a Drew Gooden layup at the other end. He had one of his accustomed rookie turnovers where he just lost the ball, although he didn't embarrass himself defensively at center as the backup to Zaza in a game where Jason Collins did not appear. 2/10
The head coach
In this game Drew instantly saw that his bench was not getting it done. Every starter except Williams played close to 40 minutes as Drew did what it took to get an important (and rare) road win to start off a 5-game swing. At the start of the 4th quarter, the Bucks made consecutive layups to cut the Hawks' lead to 70-68. After a Hawks timeout, McGrady set up Smith for an alley-oop on a beautifully-drawn-up play that kept things from getting out of hand. 7/10
A thought regarding the opposition
The Hawks were no doubt the beneficiaries of the unsettled roster situation for Milwaukee, given Stephen Jackson's unhappiness. The team also benefited from Milwaukee playing the second night of a road-and-home back-to-back. However, the Bucks were coming off consecutive road wins at the Knicks and Heat. Despite the loss, they appear to be a team on the rise, making this a quality win.