MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Glenn Robinson liked what he heard but not what
Robinson got the loudest ovation and the best seat in the house
for the big reunion in the Bradley Center on Tuesday night.
He watched from the bench as his former team, the Milwaukee
Bucks, beat the Atlanta Hawks 97-88 behind 21 points each from Sam
Cassell and Ray Allen, the two remaining members of the ''Big
Three'' shooting trio.
Robinson, who missed his third consecutive game with an injured
right elbow, received a standing ovation when he walked out of the
tunnel and another when he was introduced.
''It was cool,'' Robinson said. ''We had some good times when I
was here. It was nice to have the crowd show they appreciated me. I
saw only two negative signs. That's a pretty good ratio. I think
most everybody else was happy to see me back.''
And many of them had to be just as happy to see him and his
20.5-point scoring average on the bench.
Surprisingly, Bucks coach George Karl wasn't one of them.
''To be honest with you, I hope Glenn plays'' next time the
Hawks come to town, Karl said. ''I hope the people of Milwaukee get
the opportunity to again thank him and respect him, and then we can
get to compete against one of the great scorers in the game.''
But for this night, Karl wasn't lamenting Robinson's absence
from the lineup.
''I just thought it was a very important win for us,'' Karl
said. ''We're starting to play well and we're starting to get a
good rhythm, and I didn't want all the drama of the game to take
away from the importance of our win.''
The victory also allayed Karl's fears -- for at least one night.
Karl has always said that the one man he feared facing was his
longtime assistant, Terry Stotts, Atlanta's interim coach.
''It's the first time I've ever had an assistant coach against
me,'' Karl said. ''And Terry's a great basketball mind. He has an
opportunity hopefully to stay at the top level of basketball.
''He's been with me for a lot of great wins, great years, great
The Bucks' victory gave them a season-best three-game winning
streak, which coincides with Toni Kukoc's return from a thumb
operation that sidelined him for 18 games.
The Bucks trailed 58-57 when Allen and Cassell took over during
a 14-0 run in the third period.
Allen started the streak with a cutter across the lane, then hit
a pull-up 3-pointer. After a basket by Cassell, Allen got a long
rebound off a missed dunk by Tim Thomas and sank another 3 from the
Cassell added a jumper and two free throws for a 71-58 lead.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 23 points. Jason Terry
added 22, but the only points he had after halftime came on a
3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter that pulled
the Hawks to 79-72.
Milwaukee opened the fourth quarter on an 11-3 run for a 90-75
Robinson, second to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in career scoring for
the Bucks, was traded to Atlanta last offseason for Toni Kukoc,
Leon Smith and a first-round draft choice.
Although Robinson was sidelined, there were plenty of others
making their return to the Bradley Center, including forward Darvin
Ham and point guard Mike Wilks, a Milwaukee native who was the
Bucks' final cut in October, along with Stotts.
''I miss those guys,'' Bucks center Ervin Johnson said. ''They
put a lot of time and heart into this organization. I feel bad they
couldn't get a win but we got a win and that's what's important.''
Karl had mixed feelings about facing Stotts, who was promoted to
interim coach in Atlanta after Lon Kruger was fired last month. He
said he was excited to see him and sad over their split-up last
Stotts said there was no time for sentimentality.
''Once the ball goes up, you're just coaching the game,'' he
said. ''We shook hands and spoke to each other when I came on the
court, but then it's a basketball game.''
The two didn't even get a chance to go out afterward because
both teams had quick flights to catch.
''The NBA is not a friend friendly league,'' Karl said.
Robinson scored 23 in the Hawks' 98-80 victory over
Milwaukee on Dec. 5 in Atlanta. ... Hawks assistants Alex English
and Steve Henson also played for Milwaukee. ... Wilks had his No.
34 retired at Milwaukee Rufus King High School in the afternoon.