Carlos Delfino scored 22 points with six 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled off their second consecutive playoff surprise, beating the Atlanta Hawks, 111-104, in Milwaukee to draw even in the first-round series Monday.
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 of Rainier Beach High had 21, and Smith had 20 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta.
The Bucks made 28 out of 32 free throws. Salmons was 10-for-10 from the 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 minutes, 56 seconds remaining. 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 remaining.
Magic 99, at Bobcats 90: Vince Carter scored 21 points, Jameer Nelson added 18 and Orlando showcased its depth and pressure shot-making by beating Charlotte to complete a sweep of their first-round series.
Magic star center Dwight Howard was held to six points in his fourth consecutive game in foul trouble.
Tyrus Thomas scored 21 points for the Bobcats.
Franklin Mieuli, whose deerstalker cap, substantial beard and casual style made him one of the NBA’s most colorful figures in his 24 years as owner of the Golden State Warriors, died Sunday. He was 89. ... Chicago point guard Derrick Rose missed practiced to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on his right ankle and forward Luol Deng sat out with a sore knee. Both are expected to play in Cleveland tonight. ... A car collided with the Hawks’ bus as the team was leaving a shootaround session in downtown Milwaukee on Monday morning. A team spokesman said no one was injured. ...
Mavericks center Erick Dampier was fined $35,000 for criticizing officials. ... Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns won the Joe Dumars Trophy for outstanding sportsmanship in a vote by NBA players. ... Former Bucks forward Kevin “Big Bird” Restani died in San Francisco after returning from Milwaukee where he attended Game 3 between the Bucks and Hawks. Restani, who played eight seasons for four teams, was 58.