Southeast-leading Hawks put streak to test vs. Bucks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks are once again the hottest team in the NBA and they'll put a five-game winning streak on the line Friday night when the Milwaukee Bucks pay a visit to Philips Arena.

The Hawks share the league's longest current winning streak with the Chicago Bulls and are a half-game behind the Toronto Raptors for Eastern Conference supremacy.

Atlanta has lost only once since Nov. 28, going 14-1 during that span. The Hawks' only setback came on a buzzer-beater by Tobias Harris in a one-point loss to the Orlando Magic on Dec. 13.

The Hawks' fifth consecutive victory came Tuesday night with a 107-104 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 25 points and the Hawks rallied from 13 down in the second half to beat the Clippers.

Al Horford added 20 points and Paul Millsap scored 17 for the Hawks, who took the lead for good on Kyle Korver's 3-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter and held on down the stretch.

During this run, the Hawks beat the Chicago Bulls at home, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks on the road, then took care of the Clips.

The Hawks have won eight straight in Atlanta and moved atop the Southeast Division.

"We need to get better defensively, but I think in these last couple of weeks we've shown improvement," said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. "We have guys who step up every night and make big plays. But we've got a lot of work left and a long way to go."

The Bucks have lost two in a row and three of four. During that time, Milwaukee has allowed an average of 106.3 ppg. and the most recent setback came Tuesday in a home loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Six Hornets scored in double figures as Charlotte pulled out a 108-101 victory.

The Bucks dropped a seventh straight game to Charlotte despite a season-high 34 points from Brandon Knight. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 12 and 11, respectively, in the loss.

"We didn't have any rhythm offensively," said Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. "We turned the ball over, we missed a lot of shots. Everytime we tried to make a run we turned it over and when you do that, it puts you behind the 8-ball and that's what happened tonight."

Milwaukee forward Ersan Ilyasova returned from a nine-game absence due to a broken nose, scoring four points in 16-plus minutes.

The Hawks have owned this matchup in recent history, winning seven straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings. Atlanta has won five straight at home over the Bucks.