Bucks finish strong to fend off Hornets
For three quarters, the Bucks will play to scare each other. Milwaukee started the game in a false rhythm, stifled by the aggressiveness of Mason Plumlee and the activity of LaMelo Ball. An 8-2 run and two 3-pointers by Wes Matthews after 12 minutes were enough to put the locals back in front after 12 minutes, but it didn’t dampen the Hornets’ determination (34-27).
Two 3-pointers and a dunk by Gordon Hayward helped get Charlotte back on track. There was even a hint of irritation on the Milwaukee side when Jaden McDaniels hit his third 3-pointer in the second quarter. Brook Lopez, who was penalized for a joint layoff, allowed the Hornets to tie the score at halftime at 64-64, already a small feat.
Whether it was Mason Plumlee’s bonus foul or the Hornets’ repeated 3-pointers in advantage positions, the transition game, the Bucks always struggled in the locker room (81-85).
After Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton took over to give his team a 9-1 run late in the third quarter. Enough to get some air, Milwaukee returns to +7 after 12 minutes (97-90).
That’s when Giannis Antetokounmpo regained control with two drives, including an and-one and a counter on Dennis Smith Jr., before seeing Jevon Carter’s 3-pointer in transition offer the Bucks their biggest lead of the game to date. (105-92). The more aggressive Giannis Antetokounmpo landed a big dunk on his left hand to confirm he was back in business. Despite the disastrous end to the game (1/15 shooting in the last 7 minutes), the game did not escape the Bucks, who won by a score of 124-115.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– One match was decided in five minutes. After nearly thirty minutes of battling, the final three minutes of the third quarter and the first two minutes of the fourth quarter were enough to see the Bucks score against their evening opponent, 9-1, then 8-0. From -4 to +13. A dangerous play, but it came to nothing for Milwaukee, who notched their 21st win in 26 games at home.
– Brook Lopez scratcher. Candidate for the title of the best defender of the year, Bucks’ pivot scored points again last night. Defending his territory against Mason Plumlee, he led the way inside with a nice cut to the forehead of his Charlotte counterpart. Brook Lopez then continued his defense until the end with 5 blocks and an interception, earning him his 6th foul with a minute to go. This is the 7th time this season that he has 5 or more blocks in a game!
✅ Giannis Antetokounmpo. “Minimum” service for the Bucks star, who waited to turn up the volume in the fourth quarter and score 15 of his 34 points to put the Hornets out of harm’s way. Confident with two drives and a big dunk, he offered himself a 3-pointer on his first attempt to seal the fate of the match early enough in the fourth quarter.
✅ Chris Middleton. We’re still a long way from Khris Middleton at his best, but the winger is gradually regaining his senses. Replaced on the bench, he had his best game since his return, finishing with 18 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes with a good transition in the third quarter.
✅⛔️ LaMelo ball. Statistics, in this case a triple-double, but the impact on the game of his team should be greater. Now that he’s shot below 50% in 7 straight games, we’ll keep him as a pass option rather than a punt option.
⛔️Terry Rozier. He was the hero of the Hornets’ surprise victory in Milwaukee three weeks ago. He was zero last night with a complete miss, scoring 2 points at halftime and finishing with 16 units on a miserable 4/17 shooting.
Milwaukee (34-17) : The Bucks will host the Clippers this Thursday (04:00).
Charlotte (15-37) : The Hornets will continue their trip to Chicago this Thursday (02:00).