Hawks hope home court propels them in NBA playoffs

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks will play with renewed confidence Sunday when they play at home in the final game of their opening-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Atlanta escaped with a 113-106 overtime victory in Game 4 Friday to regain the home-court advantage and the added edge that comes from playing in front of your own fans.


'We're happy to be going home,' Atlanta guard Reggie Theus said. 'It's a situation where they came into this game with plenty of confidence and we had our backs against the wall. This one is for all the marbles. Hopefully, everyone can contribute like we did tonight.'

The Bucks had won Game 2 in Atlanta to take the home-court advantage from the Hawks.

'Oh, yes, we'll be keyed up for (Game 5),' Dominique Wilkins said. 'This is what you play for.'

The Bucks will need outstanding bench contributions Sunday with guard Paul Pressey still absent with a dislocated shoulder and Terry Cummings, the team's top scorer, also sidelined after pulling a tendon in his right ankle Friday night in Game 4.

'Whoever we have or don't have, there's not much said about it,' Bucks Coach Del Harris said. 'If we have people out, we have people out. We're not predicated on one guy. We build our whole team on team offense or team defense.'


The Bucks will be depending on increased production from sixth man Ricky Pierce, who scored 35 points in Tuesday's 117-113 Milwaukee victory, and scored 22 Friday.

'We know it's going to be a tough ballgame,' Pierce said. 'We feel we can win. We're going to have to have a good game.'

Harris said the Bucks would try to get to the line more in Game 5. Atlanta is averaging 39.5 attempts per game to Milwaukee's 27.5.

'As you look at the four games, it's evenly balanced statistically exempt that we find it difficult to get to the free-throw line,' Harris said. 'That's a tough statistic to overcome. It's hard to explain but that's the way it's gone.'

Hawks center Moses Malone was the main reason for the foul-line discrepancy Friday when he shot 10 of 12 from the free-throw line. Malone, who had 24 points and 17 rebounds Friday, said he was concentrating more on rebounding than the shooter.

'I've been facing myself more to the board,' he said. 'I was out with (Jack) Sikma on the perimeter and after he shot I would go to the ball. I figured now if I get to the ball I can help the team more than just watching Jack shoot 3-pointers.'


Malone was less talkative about predicting the outcome of Sunday's game, after guaranteeing that the Hawks would defeat the Bucks Friday.

'We're going to work hard and may the best team win on Sunday,' he said. 'I hope it's us.'

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