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Atlanta at Milwaukee

Salmons leads Bucks to comeback win over Hawks

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- John Salmons simply would not let the Milwaukee Bucks lose.

Salmons scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and made the tiebreaking free throws with 21.8 seconds remaining, leading the Bucks to a come-from-behind 98-95 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night in a matchup of possible first-round opponents.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGB
1x-Atlanta-
2x-Boston-
3x-Brooklyn-
4x-Chicago-
5o-Charlotte-
6o-Cleveland-
7o-Detroit-
8y-Indiana-
Still alive
9z-Miami-
10x-Milwaukee-
11y-New York-
Eliminated
12o-Orlando-
13o-Philadelphia-
14o-Toronto-
15o-Washington-
Complete Playoff Race

"He played his normal game, but then he got hot and he carried us," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said.

Salmons, whom Milwaukee acquired from the Chicago Bulls in February, and Hawks All-Star Joe Johnson went back and forth down the stretch until Salmons put the game away for Milwaukee.

Since Salmons' arrival, he has averaged 19.2 points and the Bucks are 15-2 with him in the lineup.

"It's just one of those things," Salmons said of his big fourth quarter. "Everything you shoot goes in."

Salmons said playing well against Atlanta was important, as it appears likely the teams will meet in the playoffs.

"I think we had a sense of urgency," he said. "We knew that this was an important game for us. We know we need to win as many games as possible to gain as much momentum as we can going into the playoffs."

Bucks center Andrew Bogut said the team ran the same play "10 or 15" straight times for Salmons in the fourth quarter.

"He got us back in the game and then took it over," Bogut said. "Jumpers, drives, free throws, whatever he put up in that quarter it was going in. They couldn't really stop him and we couldn't stop Johnson for a while."

Salmons scored nine straight points midway through the final quarter, including a jumper that gave the Bucks an 89-86 lead with 6:50 left.

The Hawks fought back to tie it at 93 when Johnson hit a jumper with two minutes remaining. After a shot clock violation against the Bucks, Johnson hit a step back jumper near the top of the key over Salmons to give the Hawks a 95-93 lead.

Salmons was fouled on a drive to the basket and hit two free throws to tie it at 95.

Johnson missed a shot with 45 seconds remaining. Luke Ridnour then missed, but grabbed his own rebound. Salmons was fouled by Johnson and hit both free throws to give the Bucks a 97-95 lead.

Johnson held the ball for the last shot, but missed as he drove the lane. Ridnour grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He hit one of two free throws and Jamal Crawford missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Skiles put Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute, known for his defense, into the game in the last minute to guard Johnson.

"It's tough [as] he's got all the tricks with the way he was scoring," Mbah a Moute said. "We just tried to make it tough for him, make him take tough shots and I did that."

The Bucks won for the 14th time in 16 games and lowered their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to seven - any combination of Bucks victories and Chicago losses totaling seven means Milwaukee will play in the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Carlos Delfino scored 23 points for the Bucks.

Johnson scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Hawks. Crawford had 21.

Johnson said the Hawks' defense let the team down in the fourth quarter.

"Defensively, it's as if we lost sight of what our principle was coming down the stretch," he said. "We just couldn't get stops. That's not like us."

Crawford said the loss wouldn't mean much if the two teams end up meeting in the first round of the playoffs.

"They're playing great basketball right now and we're also playing pretty well," he said. "But the playoffs are a long ways off."

Notes
  • Milwaukee's 24 home wins are the team's highest total since going 25-16 at the Bradley Center in 2005-06.
  • Andrew Bogut's second-quarter block gave him 34 consecutive games with a block shot, the longest current streak in the NBA.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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John Salmons rattles off nine straight points in the fourth to lead the Bucks' late charge. (Getty Images)
John Salmons rattles off nine straight points in the fourth to lead the Bucks' late charge. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (45-25) 2034202195
Milwaukee (39-30) «2322223198
ATL:J. Johnson 27 Pts
ATL:A. Horford 12 Reb
ATL:A. Horford 4 Ast
MIL:J. Salmons 32 Pts
MIL:A. Bogut 11 Reb
MIL:L. Ridnour 8 Ast
Players of the Game
MilwaukeeAtlanta

J. Salmons

J. Johnson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
32312763
Atlanta
J. Johnson, SG3813-250-163227
A. Horford, C385-52-4124212
J. Smith, SF324-91-29259
M. Williams, PF301-20-03112
M. Bibby, PG254-71-212111
J. Crawford, SG359-160-013121
M. Evans, SF152-62-31027
J. Smith, PF152-50-02024
Z. Pachulia, C101-30-11012
J. Collins, CDid Not Play
R. Morris, CDid Not Play
J. Teague, PGDid Not Play
M. West, SGDid Not Play
Totals 41-786-1336151795
 52.6%46.2% 
Milwaukee
C. Delfino, SG437-166-695423
J. Salmons, SF4112-195-531132
A. Bogut, C284-111-211329
L. Mbah a Moute, SF231-40-03112
B. Jennings, PG171-80-00132
L. Ridnour, PG317-91-248118
J. Stackhouse, SF233-71-22017
K. Thomas, PF201-30-07012
E. Ilyasova, SF131-60-04003
C. Bell, SGDid Not Play
D. Gadzuric, CDid Not Play
R. Ivey, PGDid Not Play
M. Redd, SGDid Not Play
P. Brezec, CDid Not Play
Totals 37-8314-1743191498
 44.6%82.4% 
Other Games
Orl 109 Final
Phi 93
Mia 99 Final
NJ 89
Dal 99 Final
NO 115
Hou 88 Final
Chi 98
Tor 106 Final
Min 100
SA 99 Final
OKC 96
Bos 97 Final
Utah 110
Mem 102 Final
Sac 85
Pho 133 Final
GS 131