The Milwaukee Bucks were able to hang on and defeat the Charlotte Hornets 113-112 victory in their 2018-2019 season opener. The Bucks built up a 20-point lead early in the first half, but the pesky Hornets kept clawing back behind the incredible performance of point guard Kemba Walker who finished with 41 points and 7 three-pointers.
Although he finished with 25 points (9-21 FG), 18 rebounds and 8 assists in 34 minutes. it was still a “rough” night for Giannis Antetokounmpo and his lofty standards. He did a great job at finding open shooters in the corners, and even mixed in a few athletic finishes. However, he was forcing the issue offensively, especially down the stretch. He committed a few silly offensive fouls, and also committed 8 turnovers.
Khris Middleton also played well for the Milwaukee Bucks, piling up 19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot in 32 minutes. Middleton stuffed the stat sheet tonight, and hit a couple difficult shots down the stretch to keep their head above water. What was more encouraging, was that Middleton was not shy about letting it fly from deep. He hit 3-6 threes tonight, and continued to show that he has a lethal stroke from deep.
Brook Lopez had a solid debut offensively for the Bucks, finishing with 14 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes. We knew Lopez would hoist it up from deep, but I don’t think any of us expected him to do this.
Lopez is shaking defenders at the three now pic.twitter.com/zVdIlmvmra— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) October 17, 2018
Not gonna lie, I stood up from my seat when he did this.
Making his anticipated return to the Bucks lineup, the Turkish Thunder chipped in 13 points and 9 rebounds in 29 minutes of play. Ersan Ilyasova was very efficient from the field (6-9 FG), and even took a few charges tonight. This was a classic Ersan performance, and he helps the Bucks in more areas than one.
Not so secret Donte DiVincenzo had an impressive rookie debut, piling up 8 points in 22 minutes of action. What impressed me the most about DDV was how ready he was to shoot the ball whenever he caught a pass. He knocked down 2-4 triples tonight and provided a nice little spark off the Bucks bench. However, he did have his “welcome to the NBA moment” tonight when he got crossed over by Kemba Walker.
Bucks starting point guard Eric Bledsoe had an efficient first game under new head coach Mike Budenholzer. In 34 minutes, Bledsoe scored 17 points and shot 7-13 from the field while knocking down 3-5 triples. He did finish with only 3 assists compared to 2 turnovers, but it’s hard to complain when he’s shooting the ball from three like that. Expect those assist numbers to rise as the season progresses.
Stat that stood out
21: The Milwaukee Bucks committed 21 turnovers to only 26 assists. That’s certainly not the recipe for winning basketball games. These 21 turnovers helped fuel a huge comeback by the Hornets, especially in the 4th quarter. Head coach Mike Budenholzer preaches ball security, so I imagine he isn’t thrilled with the Bucks coughing up the ball that many times. Alas, the Bucks were still able to escape with a victory.