Hawks return home against streaking Bucks

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The Atlanta Hawks hope a return home will be a remedy to help forget a difficult five-game road trip.

The Hawks, who host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, have lost six of their last seven and carry a three-game losing streak into the game after a 1-4 West Coast road swing.

Atlanta was thumped by the Los Angeles Clippers by 49 on Saturday and got handed a 21-point defeat by the Los Angeles Lakers the next night.

“We played some good teams,” Atlanta guard Trae Young said. “It will be good to get a couple games at home.”

Atlanta’s task won’t get any easier upon its return to State Farm Arena. The Bucks have won four straight and eight of their last nine, and sport the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Boston.

Milwaukee won three of four games against the Hawks last season with an average margin of victory of 19.7 points, and has won seven of eight games against Atlanta.

The Bucks have played nine of their first 13 games on the road and boast a 7-2 record in that time. Milwaukee is 2-0 on this current three-game trip after beating Chicago 115-101 on Monday night.

Milwaukee is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averages 30.3 points and has recorded 13 straight double-doubles, the longest active streak in the league. He extended his streak of 30-point games to seven after tallying 33 against the Bulls. Only Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more in franchise history after going for eight straight and 16 straight in 1971-72.

The Bucks will be without veteran Khris Middleton, who has missed three games with a left thigh contusion and isn’t expected back until December. Donte DiVincenzo has replaced him in the lineup and scored 15 against the Bulls on Monday.

“Some really good stuff from him,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said.

A key for Atlanta will be to avoid a poor start, a factor that doomed the young club against the Clippers and Lakers. Digging a big hole — Atlanta trailed by 25 in the first quarter against the Lakers — makes it very difficult to have a chance. The Hawks could only get as close as 10 against the Lakers.

“We had a lot of things that didn’t go our way (on the road trip),” Young said. “That’s how our season has been. We’ll get down big and we have to fight so hard to get back into the game that we take all the energy out of ourselves and it’s hard to get back into the game.”

Young averages 27.0 points, an Eastern-Conference leading 8.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33.8 minutes per game. He scored 31 against the Lakers and averaged 17 points against the Bucks last season.

The Hawks have struggled since John Collins was suspended by the league for violation of its anti-drug policy. Collins has missed eight games and the team is 2-6 during that stretch.

Veteran Jabari Parker has stepped up to help fill the void; Parker is averaging 17.2 points and 9.7 rebounds. In eight starts, he is averaging 19.4 points and shooting 52 percent from the field.

The Hawks and Bucks will meet three more times this season, with a rematch scheduled for Nov. 27 in Milwaukee.

–Field Level Media

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