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NBA: Atlanta at Milwaukee 8:30E NBA-TV

NBA: Atlanta at Milwaukee 8:30E NBA-TV

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NBA: Atlanta at Milwaukee 8:30E NBA-TV


2010-04-26

Just when experts were ready to write off the Bucks in their first round Eastern Conference playoff series with Atlanta, Milwaukee came up with a huge effort on its home court, turning back the Hawks in a relatively easy 18-point win on Saturday. Tonight, Game 4 of the series is on tap, and oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com show Atlanta as the 1.5-point favorite. Can the Bucks even the series, or are the Hawks ready to assume control.

Coach Mike Woodson said his Atlanta club has to learn to deal with adversity, especially on the road. Hey coach, what about if they just decide to act like they even care about giving effort on the playoff road for goodness sake. Consider Luc Mbah a Moute, Kurt Thomas and Dan Gadzuric of Milwaukee had a decided advantage over Josh Smith, Al Horford and Marvin Williams just by trying, something the team in the ATL jerseys just were not interested in.

This team is supposed to be maturing, but after Saturday’s debacle, the Hawks have lost eight of nine road playoffs games the last three years, with the average margin of defeat 22.6 PPG. Take a look at this trend further illustrating the struggles of the franchise on the road:

• ATLANTA is 4-17 ATS (-14.7 Units) in road games in all playoff games since 1996. The average score was ATLANTA 82.0, OPPONENT 96.1 - (Rating = 1*)

“I still think we’re a team that’s still learning how to win, like all teams in this league,” Woodson said. “It’s not easy winning on the road, and I never use that as an excuse, but that’s reality.” Losing is one thing but being blown out and man-handled is quite another. Dating back several seasons, this franchise is 2-12 ATS on the road in the first round of the playoffs.

This has to give the Bucks a great deal of confidence and maybe those signs around town spooked Atlanta – Fear the Deer.

Milwaukee is 8-1 ATS off a home win by 10 points or more this season; nevertheless is not getting ahead of itself. “There was a lot of pressure on us to come out and win Game 3,” rookie Brandon Jennings said. “But we can’t celebrate. We’ve got to come back Monday and do the same thing.”

Sportsbook.com has established the Hawks as 1.5-point favorites with 191 total, if for no other reason than pride. Atlanta is 8-1 ATS and 8-1 OVER off a double digit defeat. The Andrew Bogut-less Bucks are 14-4 ATS after scoring 105 points or more and are 14-2 OVER as a home deer, whoops, dog of three points or less.

The StatFox Power Ratings show the wrong team being favored, Milwaukee by 3.


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