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Milwaukee vs. Charlotte: Bucks Outdone by Hornets, 127-119

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Milwaukee’s typical starters did not play

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that did not feature the typical Bucks starting five, they’d fall to the Charlotte Hornets, 127-119.

With all five starters out for the Bucks, it was another game with a unique lineup. The opening starting five would be Jeff Teague, Bryn Forbes, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jordan Nwora, and Portis. A 9-0 run by Charlotte would give them a lead that they’d keep throughout the quarter. Moving into the second, they’d hold a 32-27 advantage.

Charlotte would embark on another run to start the second, this time rattling off an 8-0 stampede. That’d be large enough to give them a double-digit advantage. They’d hold that throughout, and while the Bucks would work it to single digits at times, Charlotte carried a 66-55 lead into the locker room.

Milwaukee wouldn’t be able to muster much momentum in the third quarter. Instead, the Hornets maintained their scoring pace and still held a double-digit advantage throughout. They’d be leading by 19 points when the fourth rolled around, 101-81.

From that point on, there was no comeback in the cards for the Bucks. The Hornets would put the final touches on a 127-119 victory.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that Jeff Teague still has some strong play left in the tank. This was shown in his first few games on the road trip with the team, but was further exemplified last night. With the Bucks out their typical starters, Teague earned the nod at the point guard position and performed admirably. He’d conclude his evening with 19 points on a nifty 8-of-11 shooting. He’d also put on some nice pump fakes which threw off the Charlotte defense. As we embark on the postseason, it’ll be intriguing to see how he further meshes with his teammates. In his postgame availability, Bud really stressed Teague’s basketball IQ and ability to bring a real understanding of the game to the squad.

Three Observations

Jordan Nwora took advantage of an opportunity again.

Once again, Jordan Nwora put his scoring talents on display. After the typical starters were sidelined, Nwora stepped up quite nicely, scoring a team-high 24 points for Milwaukee. He’d go just 4-of-10 from the 3-point line, but anybody on the Bucks’ roster (including Budenholzer) will tell you that they encourage him to take those shots. In fact, this was one of the first things he said in his postgame availability regarding Nwora. Games like these are big for the young Bucks’ encouragement, and it was definitely a positive sign to see Nwora score as much as he did last night. Nwora also discussed his film sessions with Khris Middleton, where they spent hours breaking down his play. But the main standout?

Bryn Forbes also stepped up with a strong performance.

The Bucks’ role players are going to be huge in the playoffs, and it was encouraging to see Bryn Forbes have a positive scoring output in this one. His night would conclude with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including four threes. That three ball is what’s going to be big for the Bucks down the stretch. We’ve heard everybody from Budenholzer to Giannis discuss that, and when the playoffs are here, it’ll be epitomized. If Forbes can come off as a spark and splash home a couple of threes in those bench minutes, it’ll be massive for Milwaukee.

Sam Merrill also had a nice outing.

Jordan Nwora wasn’t the only rookie to shine. Sam Merrill would come off the bench and put forth some positive numbers. He’d go 5-of-13 from the floor and splash home several 3-pointers. He continues to show flashes of the type of player he can be, which is definitely encouraging to see. Also, he threw down quite the impressive slam in the dying embers of the game:

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • First off, congrats to Zora Stephenson on this momentous achievement!
  • Bobby Portis made his fourth start of the season last night. After putting up 20 points and 14 rebounds against Dallas on Thursday, he’d etch together a 10 point and 13 rebound performance. That now makes it three straight games with a double-double for him.
  • I really enjoyed Charlotte’s jerseys tonight. Turquoise is my favorite color. The only thing I was unsure of was Buzz City. Does anybody actually call Charlotte that?
  • Cody Zeller and his bald spot looked like he came to Fiserv Forum straight from a pick-up game at the WAC. He’s definitely on the list of guys that don’t look like an NBA player.
  • Giannis looked quite active on the bench. Might that be a sign that his knee is healing?