87 - 117 Final
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Williams powers Hawks past Bucks

Jan 24, 2009 - 4:23 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Marvin Williams returned to the backcourt and the Atlanta Hawks ruled in the paint.

Returning after a two-game absence due to a concussion, Williams scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Mike Bibby dished a season-high 15 assists to lead the Hawks to a 117-87 demolition of the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Ronald Murray added a season-best 25 points and Josh Smith scored 24 for Atlanta, which extended its winning streak to three games.

"It's a game that we definitely needed to jump on them," Bibby said. "We just tried to make it as tough as possible."

Charlie Villanueva had a game-high 27 and Michael Redd poured in 16 for the Bucks, who have lost five straight here.

"Defensively, we did a terrible job tonight," Redd said. "We have to get better defensively, because tonight the Hawks did whatever they wanted to. We were not focused out there tonight."

Atlanta has piled up wins at home this season, winning 17 of 21 here.?? However, as a general rule, the club had failed to completely dominate an opponent on its home court.

The last time that the Hawks pulled off a 20-point demolition against an opponent at home, a tornado clipped Philips Arena en route to punching holes through the roof of the Georgia Dome, forcing the SEC Championship basketball tournament to relocate.

In that game, Atlanta cruised to a 117-93 win over the lowly Los Angeles Clippers.

The Hawks similarly wreaked havoc all over the paint on this one.

Atlanta took advantage of an undersized Milwaukee backcourt, which was missing center Andruw Bogut, blasting the Bucks, 50-20, in the paint.

"They shot a lot of jump shots, which allowed us to get in position to rebound the basketball," Murray said. "We were able to rebound the ball and get easy buckets."

The Hawks used a 20-7 first-half spurt to erase a three point deficit before extending the lead to 17 in the first half on a 3-footer by Joe Johnson, which gave Atlanta a 38-21 lead with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter.

Milwaukee closed the gap to 64-57 on Luke Ridnour's jumper with 8:20 in the third, but Atlanta cruised thereafter, scoring 53 of the next 83 points to secure the blowout.

"It was a good win for us," Murray said. "It was one of those games that we needed to have."

A dunk by Smith epitomized the Bucks' woes in this one.

Two Milwaukee defenders honed in on Bibby, leaving Smith wide open outside of the right key.

With every Bucks player on the left side of the court, Smith cruised in for the monstrous jam to extend the lead to 91-67 with 10:58 remaining in the final period.

"Luckily, I was able to cut in," Smith said. "They were so worried about Mike Bibby's shooting ability. I wanted to be able to sneak my way into get easy points and easy putbacks."

Meanwhile, the Bucks struggled to find their shot.

Other than a hot night from Villanueva, who finished 10-for-14 from the field, Milwaukee struggled to find the hot hand - finishing a combined 31-percent (20-for-65) from the field.

"We didn't show up tonight in any facet of the game," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "For some reason, we totally broke down from the beginning of the game. They did whatever they wanted to do. In general, we just seemed disinterested in the game."

Atlanta had much more success on the other end of the floor. Taking advantage of the Bucks on the fast break, the Hawks shot a blistering 56-percent (43-for-77) from the field in the contest.

Murray had the hottest hand, connecting on 11-of-13 shots.

"I had it going today," Murray said. "I needed that after the last couple of games. I've been shooting 8-for-26. I needed a game like that tonight to get my swagger back."

The blowout allowed the Hawks to rest the weary legs of Johnson and Bibby, who shouldered the load injuries to Williams and starting center Al Horford. The duo, who averaged 44 minutes in Atlanta's last two games, spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench.

"It feels great to be able to sit down in the fourth quarter and rest," Johnson said. "Whenever we do that, I try to take advantage of it."

Also returning to action was Williams, who was taken to the hospital last Saturday after hitting the floor violently on a hard foul by Golden State's Ronnie Turiaf.

Playing for the first time since last Saturday, the former Tar Heel finished one rebound shy of a double-double in 27 minutes of action.

"My head still hurts a little bit," Williams admitted. "But I felt fine."

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