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Hornets Unravel in 4th Quarter to Fall in Milwaukee

By Sam Perley

Although the Hornets couldn’t have asked for a better opening three quarters, they came up short in holding off the hard-charging Bucks down the stretch, falling 108-99, on Friday, Jan. 25 in Milwaukee, WI.

Nic Batum led the visitors with a team-high 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. The Frenchman knocked down four three-pointers for the second straight game and has scored at least 15 points in three of his last four outings.

The Hornets played exceptionally well for the opening 36 minutes, but with a 12-point lead and 9:45 remaining on the game clock, they watched the Bucks roll off a scolding 28-7 run to close out their sixth-straight win. Charlotte was outscored in the final 12 minutes, 32-12, which was the team’s worst point differential in the fourth quarter since Feb. 15, 2017 vs. Toronto (32-10).

“[Our guys] battled tonight. I think they controlled the game for the most part for probably 42 minutes,” said Head Coach James Borrego. “They gave us a chance to win in a tough environment. Fourth quarter, we went dry and couldn’t make shots. [Milwaukee] came aggressively, got to the rim, made shots. We had our chances, but I think we grew tonight.”

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tallied a season-high 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Jeremy Lamb (16 points) and Marvin Williams (13 points) also posted double-digit scoring performances. With Tony Parker sitting out (rest), rookie Devonte’ Graham chipped in eight points and two assists in 21 minutes off the bench.

Newly-minted All-Star Game starter Kemba Walker had a quiet 10 points, a season-high-tying eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He exited late in the fourth quarter with a mild neck strain.

“As far as I know, Kemba’s going to be okay,” added Borrego. “We’ll know more tomorrow. So far, the indications are that he’s going to be okay.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted for game-high totals in scoring (34 points on 14-of-21 shooting) and rebounding (14) to go along with three assists, three steals and three blocks. Malcolm Brogdan (19 points), Eric Bledsoe (18 points) and Khris Middleton (15 points) were also in double figures for the hosts.

Charlotte went 10-of-38 from three-point range (26.3 percent), while Milwaukee was just 6-of-31 on such attempts (19.4 percent). The Hornets also had 17 turnovers and shot just 68.0 percent from the free-throw line (17-of-25), which included a 2-of-7 clip in the fourth.

The Hornets now return home to wrap up their season series with the New York Knicks on Monday, Jan. 28 starting at 7 p.m. ET.