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Hawks drop another; series now tied 2-2
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MILWAUKEE — Carlos Delfino scored 22 points with six 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled off their second straight playoff surprise, beating the Atlanta Hawks 111-104 Monday night to draw even in the first-round series.

Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and John Salmons added 22 for the Bucks, who survived a fourth-quarter surge led by Atlanta stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Now the Hawks head home for Game 5, desperately needing a win to stave off a surprising challenge by a team missing its best player, injured center Andrew Bogut.

Johnson scored 29 points, reserve Jamal Crawford had 21, and Smith had 20 points and nine rebounds.

The Bucks finally started getting to the free throw line and the made the most of it, hitting 28 of 32.

Salmons was 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

It was yet another subpar performance away from home for the Hawks, who struggled on the road in the regular season and haven’t performed well on the road in recent playoff appearances. Atlanta beat Milwaukee in convincing fashion the first two games of the series, but the Bucks blew out the Hawks in Saturday’s Game 3.

Atlanta did a better job responding to adversity Monday, but still not good enough.

Delfino went 6-for-8 from 3-point range, including a 3-pointer from the corner to put Milwaukee ahead 97-88 with 3:56 left. Smith missed inside and Jennings grabbed the rebound, then hit a floating jumper at the other end.

Layups by Al Horford and Johnson later cut the lead to five with 1:41 remaining, but Milwaukee’s Kurt Thomas made one of two free throws, then took a charge by Crawford with 1:20 left.

Horford fouled Salmons, who hit both free throws to give the Bucks a 103-95 lead with 1:05 to go. Atlanta couldn’t get much closer because Milwaukee kept hitting from the line.

Little-used big man Dan Gadzuric gave the Bucks a jolt at the end of the third quarter, emphatically blocking a shot by Johnson and then making an acrobatic layup to give Milwaukee an 85-74 lead going into the fourth.

The Hawks came into Milwaukee up 2-0 in the series, but the Bucks’ blowout victory in Saturday’s Game 3 at least gave the heavily favored Hawks something to think about.

After burying the Hawks with a sizzling start Saturday, the Bucks started strong again, taking a 28-25 lead in the first quarter as Delfino went 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Atlanta responded better than it did Saturday, though, and trailed by only four at halftime.

It started out as a strange day for the Hawks when their team bus was hit by a car as they rode back to their hotel from a morning shootaround.

Nobody on board was hurt, and Hawks coach Mike Woodson said the woman driving the car and the young boy riding with her appeared to be OK as well. Woodson jumped out of the bus to help immediately after the accident.

“I jumped out and went over to the car and opened the door, and the little kid had climbed out of his car seat,” Woodson said before the game. “There was smoke coming from the airbags, so I grabbed the kid. And the mom, they got her out, and we gave the kid back.”
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