The one team on the planet that can't stand another point guard scare got exactly that in the fourth quarter of a win over Milwaukee Wednesday night.Hawks point guard Mike Bibby left the game for the locker room holding his left thumb, the same one that cost him the first 36 games of the season following surgery to repair a torn ligament.
Bibby was injured Wednesday on a drive to the basket late in the third quarter but stayed in the game. When he attempted a long jumper minutes into the fourth, he immediately turned to Hawks coach Mike Woodson to get him out of the game.
Bibby jogged off the floor holding his thumb and went straight to the locker room for X-rays, the results of which were negative. He was gone by the time the media was allowed into the locker room after the game. But his teammates made clear their concerns about their starting point guard's health going forward.
"We've definitely got to have him, so hopefully he's fine and can go Friday (against Chicago)," Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson said. "If not, this is the NBA. The next man has to step up and be productive."
The man who might have to carry that load is rookie point guard Acie Law IV, who had one of his better outings of the season in the win over the Bucks, finishing with 10 points and three assists.
"Every guy on this bench knows that he's one play away from having to get out there and help this team," Law said. "We all knew that with those guys playing all those minutes and us being in a back-to-back situation we were going to be called upon, and we did the job.
"And depending on how things work with Mike, if I'm called upon to get out there and lead this team, I'll be ready to go. Because we're right there on the cusp of this playoff push and every guy has to step up and do his part to make sure we get there."
HAWKS 115, BUCKS 96: There will be nights when the Hawks' starters can't do it on their own, nights when the Hawks' reserves will have to be the difference between winning and losing.
And that was the case against Milwaukee Wednesday, with the Hawks trying to grind their way through the ugly end of a back-to-back set after a stinging loss in Chicago Tuesday night.
The Hawks' reserves came through in a major way, providing 30 points over their season average in the Hawks' 115-96 win at Philips Arena. The Hawks overcame a lackluster defensive effort in the first half in what turned into a blowout win. The Hawks couldn't have done it without their bench, which outscored their Bucks counterparts 41-16 on the night.
Josh Childress (20 points), Acie Law IV (10 points) and Zaza Pachulia (nine point, eight rebounds and two blocks) led the charge off the bench as Hawks coach Mike Woodson's secured his 100th win.
"I think it was necessary to get the starters some rest just from the standpoint of making them more effective when they're in the game," Childress said. "This was a game we felt like we could win if we came out and hit them first and of course, we came out a little sluggish. So we knew as a unit that we would have to provide a boost."
The Hawks needed it against the Bucks, who got huge nights from Andrew Bogut (27 points, nine rebounds and three blocks) and Michael Redd (20 points) against the Hawks starting unit, which logged huge minutes against the Bulls Tuesday.
"The only way you're going to be a successful team in this league is if you can go to your bench," said Johnson, who led all scorers with 28 points. "They definitely have to be productive in the rat race we're in now for the playoffs. And when they are, we're a totally different team."