The Milwaukee Bucks looked off base all night, but a suffocating stretch of defense in the fourth quarter sent them to a 108-99 win over the Charlotte Hornets. It was a disjointed first quarter for the Bucks, who trailed 27-22 after one as they shot just 33.3% from the field. The Bucks closed the gap with a late second quarter surge, but still were behind 54-52 after a 3-17 performance from deep. Unfortunately, the shot swoon extended into the third, where Milwaukee mustered only one additional trey en route to ceding an 11-point lead, 87-76 heading into the fourth. Then, the flip switched. Milwaukee ran ragged over the Hornets, outscoring them by 20 in the period to come out with a decisive win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went through with his typical slow and steady decimation in the paint, particularly when Charlotte opted to go small throughout the night. He had a tidy night with 34 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, three assists and three steals at the final buzzer. More importantly though, his time at center for the latter stages of the game featured some intense rim protection that helped key Milwaukee’s comeback.
Eric Bledsoe was his paint partner for the evening, where he was off-base all night from deep (0-7) but still managed 18 points. Down the stretch though, Malcolm Brogdon was taking Hornets defenders off the dribble for plenty of crafty finishes after a tough evening from the rim before that, ending at 19 points.
Kemba Walker couldn’t get himself going like he did when destroying the Bucks from deep to start the year, ending with just 10 on 3-12 shooting. Unfortunately, he also got caught in a scrum beneath the basket and had to leave the game, but thankfully he walked off under his own power. Let’s hope he’s okay. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a fine two-way game, going for 16 points and seven rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 19.
Stat that Stood Out
It’s been more common of late for this Bucks team to struggle from deep, but they’ve been finding ways to still score efficiently and emerge victorious. Tonight was no exception, as a horrific 6-31 (19.4%) night didn’t stop Milwaukee from pulling out the W. With Charlotte going small, they were able to run Brook Lopez off the floor, but it also meant Milwaukee had a clearer coast to the rim for Giannis and co. to go to work at the other end of the efficiency scale in the paint.