A slow start was not ideal for the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night against the Charlotte Hornets. A slow ending didn't help, either. All in all, it was a poor performance that resulted in a 115-91 loss to Charlotte and the score doesn't really reflect how poorly the Bucks played with the Hornets leading by as many as 29 points.
Despite a timeout from coach Jason Kidd midway through the first quarter with his team down 13-6, the Bucks just couldn't manage to bring the energy and effort required to mount a challenge to Charlotte and trailed 29-17 after one quarter. Khris Middleton scored 11 of the Bucks' first quarter points, but would score just two more points the rest of the game.
The second quarter was all about the Hornets' Nicolas Batum. Batum went off in the quarter, hitting four of five 3-point attempts and tallying 13 points in the quarter to give him 23 first half points. Offensively, the Bucks looked lethargic in the first half and it showed on the scoreboard as they scored just 38 points and trailed by 17 at intermission.
Things only got worse for the Bucks in the second half as the Hornets started to rain threes all over the floor. Charlotte hit seven in the third quarter and managed to hit all seven of them in a five and a half minute stretch, in which they didn't score any other baskets. Just three after three after three.
The 3-point barrage effectively sealed the game for the Hornets as they took a 26-point lead, which was the largest three quarter deficit the Bucks have faced this season. Some losses this season have featured overwhelming positives to take away from the game, but tonight wasn't really one of those nights. Antetokounmpo scored just eight points. Parker managed to put up a decent night with 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, but didn't showcase any new skills or make any fantastic plays.
Kemba Walker also added 18 points, while Marvin Williams scored 21 for the Hornets.
The Bucks will be back in action on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns to continue their homestand. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.
— The Hornets hit 16 shots from the 3-point line tonight, the second-most the Bucks have allowed an opponent to hit in a game this season. Nicolas Batum led the team with five of them by himself.
— All Bucks starters finished with double-digit negative +/- rates: Giannis -22, Jabari -21, Monroe -31, Middleton -26 and Bayless -26.
— Rashad Vaughn returned from the D-League and scored just five points on 2-of-7 shooting in 22 minutes. He had just one turnover but numerous rookie miscues throughout the game.
— Tyler Ennis played well in the fourth quarter. He ended the game with nine points and a career-high 12 assists.
— The last two games have not been the best for Giannis: 8-of-23 shooting and only 19 points total. He finished with eight tonight, which marked the first time he didn't score in double-digits since Feb. 27.
— Batum scored 23 of his 25 points in the first half, topping his previous career-high for points in a half (21).
— The Hornets have won 10 of their last 12 against the Bucks, including four in a row inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
— The Hornets dished out a season-high 30 assists vs. the Bucks.
— Before the game, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer compared last year's Hornets to this year's Bucks in regards to 3-point shooting when talking to Hornets coach Steve Clifford. The comparison is interesting because in a single season, the Hornets have added 10 3-point attempts per game. Last season, they were near the bottom of the league with 19.1 threes per game, and this year, they are third in the league shooting 29.1 threes per game. Obviously, the Hornets have made some changes to their core, but they have shown that a team can make a major change in that regard, if they commit to doing so.
— Vaughn was the Bucks' first substitution of the night and came in for Antetokounmpo. I'm not really sure why he was the first sub and Antetokounmpo was the first starter to come out of the game.
— The Bucks just did not have an answer for Batum in the first half. After 10 first quarter points, Batum started raining down shots from deep in the second quarter. And for the most part, his shots were well guarded. He just hit some tough shots.
— The Bucks looked completely lost offensively throughout the game. They didn't seem to have much energy and just couldn't manage to find a way to successfully attack the Hornets.
— As much as I (and apparently Jason Kidd) dislike two-big lineups, lineups featuring the John Henson and Miles Plumlee pairing were just about the only ones with any energy on the night. When they hit the floor, the Bucks played with a spark.
— Vaughn desperately needs this season to come to an end. He needs an offseason to get stronger and some time to clear his mind. He never really got comfortable at any point this season and it appears as though as he continues to try to find a role, he just presses more and more.
— Damien Inglis picked up a DNP on Friday night against the Hawks and didn't enter the game until garbage time. It has been strange to watch him go from the first guy off the Bucks bench last week to the last one off the bench this week.
— Parker was pretty solid on Saturday night. He had a nice lob to Plumlee for one of his four assists and ended up putting together a pretty decent game. There was nothing particularly earth-shattering about his performance, but still nice to see.
— I was pretty excited for the Giannis vs. Batum matchup that we were given throughout the first half, but only one player held up their end of the bargain. For a second-straight night, Antetokounmpo was a bit underwhelming. Batum is a very good matchup for Antetokounmpo and he did a nice job making things difficult for him throughout the game.