Hornets Highlights vs Bucks - 12/03/22
Rozier, McDaniels Oubre All Score 20+ PTS, Charlotte Shoots 39%, Drains Only 5 3-Pointers
Even without their star trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, the Milwaukee Bucks certainly possess one of the NBA’s deepest rosters. The Charlotte Hornets, who are still without several of their key players because of injury, witnessed that firsthand in Saturday night’s 105-96 home loss at Spectrum Center.
Terry Rozier had 26 points on 10-of-21 shooting, five rebounds and four assists in the loss, giving himself four consecutive games with at least 22 points for the first time since March 22-30, 2021. Jalen McDaniels (21) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (20) also cracked the 20-point threshold, giving Charlotte three 20-point scorers for the second straight outing.
While it never felt like the Bucks really ran away with this one, they controlled the game for most of the night. Milwaukee led by six after the opening frame, then nearly doubled the lead to 11 by halftime. Charlotte started the third on a 10-0 run to pull within one, but couldn’t get over the hump and take the lead. The Hornets hung in there and got as close as five with 2:26 left in the fourth, although again, couldn’t make the plays necessary to pull out the victory.
“It’s hard to win when you’re minus-7 in the 3-point game,” said Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford following the loss. “That’s 21 points. Offensively, in the second quarter, we took a lot of really quick shots that weren’t open. We haven’t been doing that. I don’t think the ball hit the paint in the first half nearly enough. That was my point at halftime, and I thought in the third quarter especially, we were much better.”
Said Oubre, “We didn’t really play for each other like we’ve been playing. I feel like we lacked that flow tonight, for sure, and that’s kind of the key to our game. We have so much talent that when we have everybody clicking, everybody in rhythm, touching the rock and doing what they do best, we’re tough to guard on the offensive end. I think that was a big factor tonight.”
Charlotte ended up shooting 39.1% from the field and tied a season low with five 3-pointers on 24 attempts (20.8%). Much of the offensive shortcomings were made up by scoring 31 points off 22 Milwaukee turnovers and a 23-of-26 clip from the free-throw line (88.5%).
Bobby Portis (20 points), Jordan Nwora (17), Jevon Carter (14) and Brook Lopez (14) all scored in double figures for the Bucks, with Lopez also swatting a season-high-tying six shots. Milwaukee’s bench also outscored its Charlotte counterpart by a 33-16 margin.
Going into the game, it certainly felt like the playing field was slightly more level given who Milwaukee had sitting out. Sometimes though, it’s easy to forget who is still sidelined for the Hornets and that the margin of error remains incredibly thin at times, especially in games like this.
Added Clifford, “The Bucks are good, too, obviously. There’s a reason why they are first in defense. They were down some guys, but even the majority of the guys they played tonight are guys that were in their playing group that won [the NBA title in 2021]. Those guys are all high-minute rotation guys. Their defense is disciplined and they know what they’re doing, and they’re hard to play against. Tonight, this wasn’t about who [the Bucks] had on the floor – look who we’re missing. That’s every night for us. This isn’t a bad loss. If you line those guys up [on Milwaukee] they would beat a lot of teams with the guys they put on the floor tonight.”
The Hornets will now have a day off before closing out their three-game homestand against the LA Clippers on Monday, Dec. 5 beginning at 7 PM ET. Follow all the action on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ FM 92.7.