In the words of Lisa and Marques, this was a Toupane game. It was never horrendous, but it certainly never sparkled. Let’s just say that both Thanasis and AJ Green got first quarter minutes.
Regardless, the Bucks gained and maintained a narrow lead during the first quarter. Bobby Portia was dropping buckets and Jordon Nwora made the most of a surprise starting nod. A deep three from Brook Lopez as time expired ended the first quarter with the Bucks up 30-24.
The second quarter featured more of the same. The Hornets kept missing outside shots, and inside Brook was wrecking havoc with five (5) blocks only a couple minutes into the quarter. A eight-point sequence from Nwora put the Bucks up 14. The lead would dissipate slightly, but the Bucks went into the half up 56-45.
To keep me awake, the Bucks gave up ten straight points to start the third quarter, with the first eight at the hands of Jalen McDaniels. They then woke up to the tune of a high single-digits lead through most of the quarter. The quarter ended with the same margin as halftime, 84-73 in favor of the Bucks. It’s almost like they didn’t need to play it at all.
As the game came to a close, Bobby returned with a flex. The Hornets made a run, because of course they did. George Hill got the nod down the stretch and, despite a few turnovers, made several key plays to seal the deal. Ultimately the Bucks escaped with a W despite playing fans who attended the game in Bucks gear.
Stat That Stood Out
In the absence of the Big Three, Brook was going to be the lynchpin of this game. He delivered in a big way, with a new season high in blocks. (And, by swatting five Hornets in the early goings, likely caused myriad mental blocks through the remainder of the game as well.) This was crucial given the Hornets’ propensity to put up numbers in the paint.