Khris Middleton has been pretty good lately. He once again showed why on Saturday night.
A night after the Atlanta Hawks gave him the best defensive pressure he's seen all season, Middleton continued his hot trend of shooting by scoring 24 points and powering the Milwaukee Bucks past the slumping Charlotte Hornets, 105-92 inside Time Warner Cable Arena, the Bucks' first road win since Jan. 2.
The Hornets started the game hot, nailing five triples early and leading 29-19 after one. That didn't translate to the second quarter, as they themselves only scored 19 points. With eight points each from Middleton and rookie Rashad Vaughn, the Bucks outscored Charlotte 33-19 during the second and ended up leading by four, 52-48 at halftime. Middleton's eight were the last eight the Bucks scored to end the half, while Jabari Parker (15 pts, 7/9 fg) made all five of his shots in the half, including this driving slam in transition:
Jabari Parker: INCOMING https://t.co/mxSmTTUbhp— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) January 17, 2016
The Bucks took control of the game in the third, leveraging a balanced attack and drawing a ton of fouls (15 free throws) to leave 84-71 going into the fourth. Charlotte got an unexpected boost from early in the fourth Jeremy Lin, who scored six straight to begin the fourth quarter, but Middleton responded with eight fourth quarter points and went 4-of-5 from the field, including a beautiful pull-up jumper to put the Bucks up 94-81 with 6:32 to go. Hornets coach Steve Clifford put his bench unit in with 3:50 remaining.
After their slow first quarter, the Bucks went on a, 83-52 run to put the game away, including two 30-point quarters. A great way to finish the second of a back-to-back and their fourth game in five nights.
Greg Monroe posted yet another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The next game on Milwaukee's four-game road trip is Tuesday against the Miami Heat.
— Over his last seven games, Middleton is averaging 23.4 points on 49 percent shooting along with 4.5 assists. He finished 11-of-16 from the floor today and has now scored over 20 points in six of those seven contests. This has been fun to watch.
— Jerryd Bayless appeared in his first game after missing the last six due to a sprained ankle. He played 22 minutes and finished with only three points.
— The Bucks had nine blocks in the first half. Three each from Giannis and John Henson, while the other three came from Michael Carter-Williams, Monroe and Johnny O'Bryant.
— In his last four games, Henson has blocked a total of 15 shots.
— The Hornets only committed eight turnovers, marking the first time this season the Bucks have won a game in which their opponent committed turnovers in the single-digits.
— Jabari Parker started the game 5-for-5 with 11 points at halftime. He only managed four points in the second half and ended the game with just two rebounds.
— This was a good defensive performance by the Bucks, who held the Hornets to just 38 percent shooting. Nobody hit more than six shots for Charlotte.
- Aron Yohannes
- After looking good with the starters last night, John Henson was again the first man off the bench in both halves tonight. He finished with six points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and helped spark an 8-1 run midway through the third that allowed the Bucks to establish the double-digit lead they'd never surrender. They've still played just 43 minutes together all season, but that lineup's numbers continue to look very encouraging: an ORtg of 103 vs. a DRtg of just 86.
- The Bucks struggled to keep up with the Hornets' shooting early, but they repeatedly found Giannis and Jabari off cuts for easy buckets. That's another positive of teams focusing so much attention on first Monroe and now Middleton -- more opportunities for the youngsters to catch opponents off guard.
- Giannis started slowly with a couple in-close misses to start the game, but eventually piled up another double-double -- his fourth straight and fifth straight game with 10+ rebounds. After hitting just one jumper over the past three games (the corner three in OT last night), he also stroked an open 18-footer early in the third, though he airballed a three shortly thereafter. Certainly not Giannis' best game, but a 14/11/3 night 20 hours after playing 50 minutes vs. the Hawks is none too shabby.
- Watching Middleton go to work in isolation and on P&R, I can't help but think he's looking more and more like an in-his-prime Joe Johnson: a big guard/forward who relies more on skill and savvy than athleticism while hitting threes, isolating against smaller defenders, and setting up teammates.
- By the way, remember earlier this season when Middleton was on fire from three and couldn't make a shot inside the arc? Well, he was held without a three for the second straight game in Charlotte and is now just 1/11 from deep over the past three games. Fortunately, he's still hit 31/56 overall (55.3%) while averaging 25.0 points per game in that span. In short, this is not the old Khris Middleton.
- Frank Madden