Posted by Sekou Smith
MILWAUKEE — That 34-31 halftime lead and the raucous Game 6 Bradley Center crowd was fool’s gold.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles knew something wasn’t right from the start.
His team appeared to be paralyzed by the moment, knowing that if they didn’t finish the Hawks on their home floor they’d face the prospect of a Game 7 in a similarly hostile environment.
“We came out and scored the first basket [of the second half],” Skiles said. “We were up five. But we were concerned, as a staff, at halftime, just because when you’re around each other, you see looks on faces and see what’s going on in the game and guys weren’t comfortable out there. They weren’t relaxed and comfortable and just playing basketball and communicating with each other like we do when we’re good. We just had some blank stares going on out there.”
Bucks guards Brandon Jennings and John Salmons were a combined 6-for-28 from the floor and 1-for-12 from beyond the 3-point line, ending their assault on the Hawks’ defense. They had been averaging 20 point each in the series but combined for 20 in Game 6.
The Hawks’ mixed their defense all game long, including an effective 2-3 zone after halftime that stymied the Bucks.
“We were out of sorts from the opening tip,” Skiles said. “We weren’t as aggressive as we’ve been, we were just standing around and watching each other a little too much. We just had open guys once again who had tunnel vision going on and we couldn’t get out of it. We were a little panicky out there tonight. They outplayed us. They deserved to win the game, so I don’t want to take anything from them. We really didn’t see people like we do when we are playing well, and they confused us quite a bit out there tonight.”