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The Bucks failed to close out Atlanta on their home court, which was essentially their last chance. No way the Hawks were losing again at Philips Arena.
Horford sparked the Hawks with his hustle at both ends of the court, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Crawford, appearing in the playoffs for the first time in his 10-year career, struggled for much of the series but closed it out with two strong performances off the bench, finally looking like the player who won the NBA's Sixth Man Award. Smith and Mike Bibby added 15 points apiece, while Marvin Williams chipped in with nine rebounds.
The Hawks finished with a dominating 55-34 edge on the boards and didn't even need much from their best player. Johnson was held to 8 points on 4 of 14 shooting.
Milwaukee simply didn't have enough weapons to cope with an Atlanta team that was fired up and ready to give its best, not with Bogut watching from the bench and Michael Redd also sidelined by a season-ending injury.
The Bucks made less than a third of their shots (28 of 86), were blocked eight times and, clearly rattled, threw up at least three airballs. Rookie Brandon Jennings led the way with just 15 points, and he needed 18 shots to score that many.
"I think we were missing one piece, and that was Bogut," Jennings said. "I wanted to walk out sad, but I had to keep my head up because we were down a couple players. We did the best we could.
"We showed a lot of people that the Milwaukee Bucks can actually hang in this league."
Indeed, the Bucks have a solid nucleus to build on their first playoff appearance since 2006 with Jennings, Bogut and John Salmons.
"We made it a tough series," said Carlos Delfino, who had his moments for the Bucks but made only 1 of 8 shots in the season finale. "To go seven games, I think we did pretty good."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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