Dan Gadzuric had six points and three rebounds as the Bucks' fill-in starting center, but he played only 18 minutes.
"They played hard, they're just a little short-handed," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.
Woodson said his team struggled to adjust when Bucks coach Scott Skiles put a small lineup on the floor.
"It was really 5-on-5 perimeter players playing, so we looked somewhat lost in playing that game," Woodson said.
The Hawks led by four after one quarter, settled for a 48-48 halftime tie, and again led by four at 71-67 entering the final period. Atlanta's biggest lead was nine points.
Skiles found no consolation in his short-handed team staying close.
"No. This is pro sports. We're paid to win," Skiles said. "Nobody's going to present me a medal because we're not out of the game. We're supposed to be in the games. We're supposed to win the games. And we had our opportunities. We just weren't able to make the plays."
Skiles, holding the final statistics, lamented his team's defensive breakdowns that allowed the Hawks to shoot 50 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent (10 for 24) on 3-pointers.
"We're not going to win that game," Skiles said. "Most nights we're not going to win that game. Especially with guys out."
Woodson said F Josh Smith, who missed his 10th straight game with a sprained left ankle, will practice on Thursday and could play next week. ... Bucks G Luke Ridnour returned after missing a game with a knee injury. He had 5 points and 4 assists. ... Murray had three steals. Horford blocked three shots. ... The Hawks improved to 5-1 in home games.