The Bucks dominated the Hornets again, winning their fourth straight win 111-99

He plays

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Milwaukee Bucks won their fourth straight game, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 111-99 on Thursday night at Spectrum Center. This is the first time they have won this many awards in a row since winning seven in a row from December 11 to 23.

The Bucks (39-21) swept the four-game season series against the Hornets (15-44) and evened their record under Doc Rivers to 7-7.

Before the game, Rivers said playing a team for the second time in three days is always a challenge, especially considering the Bucks beat the Hornets by 38 on Tuesday. But Charlotte coach Steve Clifford noticed something about the Bucks at this point.

“I would say they're a veteran team with a lot of talent, and they're in a place now where they're starting to feel good about themselves,” Clifford said before the game. “Even without (Kris) Middleton. And they're like, 'Let's get this going.' That's what I see overall from the way they played in Minnesota to the way they played Philadelphia to the way they played that night (against us).

Square score: Bucks 111, Hornets 99

“That's when it gets fun when you're managing a team like that. When you're on one of those veteran teams and you know you're good, the question is just when do you want to prepare? For me, I'm like, 'Watch them, okay, they're preparing.' now. Their confidence level is high.”

Rivers agreed with that assessment.

“A veteran team that knows what's next, listen down this stretch, we either get it going or we don't,” he said. “As I said when I first took over, it's not about getting wins right away or it could be all wins and you're still not ready. It's more about being ready. And that's what you can see, the urgency.”

They showed that urgency in the opening minutes of the game, going 8-0 up and never looking back. Milwaukee led by as many as 20 at halftime and 23 in the early part of the third quarter.

Charlotte never challenged in the game, although it did get within one of its own possessions at one point in the second quarter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was the best scorer for the Bucks with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. He sat for good with the Bucks leading 104-84 with 5 minutes, 17 seconds left. Malik Beasley (19), Damian Lillard (17) and Brook Lopez (11) were also rookies who reached double figures.

The Hornets were led by rookie Brandon Miller, who scored 21 goals. Grant Williams (17) and Seth Curry (13) reached double figures off the bench.

See also  NBC Sports California names Chris Caray as play-by-play announcer for A - NBC Sports Bay Area & California

The Bucks finished the evening percentage points behind Cleveland for second place in the Eastern Conference.

“I think after the break, man, do you feel me in every important game?” Bobby Portis said after the game. “You get into these must-win games during the season, in the standings where you look at them. I look at it.

“I'm a basketball fan, so you look at your opponents, you look at Cleveland, you look at the Celtics, you look at the Knicks, you look at the Indiana Pacers, and the players that are right behind you or right in front of you. You just want to win as many as you can. Every game is important, Every acquisition is important.

“I think we're sacrificing more at it and conserving more, being more focused and detail-oriented. We have great coaches, a guy that tells you specifically what they want and it's easier to go out there and play when you know what's needed.” What is expected of you.”

Required reading: Damian Lillard says he's happy in Milwaukee but is still looking for comfort in the Bucks' offense

Damian Lillard's quick hand sparks a key Bucks run

The Hornets stayed in touch with the Bucks in the second quarter, trailing 50-43 with just over five minutes left in the first half after a Miles Bridges basket. Antetokounmpo followed with a dunk, and it looked like Bridges was going to try to keep the momentum going. He came off a screen that brought down Jae Crowder, but Lillard rose to take on the Hornets' bigger winger and the ball fell to his quick hands. The ball was eventually knocked into the backcourt, and Davis Bertans eventually lost it out of bounds.

“He was up against bigger players tonight, but if you put the ball in front of him, Dame has unbelievable hands and he can get to it,” Rivers said. “He also goes into the right spots in our rotations defensively and that has been great as well.”

That led to two free throws from Lillard on the other end, sparking a 15-4 run to give Milwaukee its largest lead of the half at 67-47.

In that period, Antetokounmpo scored five points and made three-pointers for Beasley and Lillard.

“They have to, they have to,” Antetokounmpo said of Lillard and Beasley being effective point guards. “We'll be at our best when they have to be. They can't be screened. In our previous years when we were a good defensive team we had players that were very difficult to screen.” .

“But that was a secret. We had guys that were very difficult to screen and were pressuring the ball. Whenever Pace and Dame were out there pressuring the ball, fighting through screens, using their hands, they got the ball.” “Deflections and not allowing pocket passes, as when they do their job it's easier for the defense behind them. We need them to continue to do that. That's when we're at our best.”

See also  New Mexico State coach Jerry Kill is stepping down

Ball movement goes from “good to great” for the Bucks

In their four wins outside of the All-Star break, the Bucks have assisted on 106 of 169 field goals, or 62% of the baskets made. It's been one of Rivers' many talking points since he took over, and although no Bucks player made a tremendous amount of one-on-one passing against the Hornets, the team swung the ball consistently and effectively on Thursday night.

The “hockey assist” was in full force as well, especially early as the Bucks built a commanding lead, with players abandoning their good looks for a better look for a teammate.

“It's definitely beautiful,” Rivers said. “You need your stars to be guys who make the right plays and they did. Giannis and Dame started and Brock tonight, extra passes. Bobby's extra passes. Pat Connaughton ran up to me in the third quarter and said, 'Is this what you mean from good to great?' “The fact that he believes this is good for our team. It helps everyone. It's easy to put too much pressure on defense when you know the ball is being played right on offense.”

Although the team's three-point percentage eventually dropped to their average number of points per game, they were 9-for-18 in the decisive first half.

“It's starting to become contagious,” Beasley said. “I think people are excited to be there with their guy because you're going to get the swing. Bobby had four assists tonight and normally they don't team up with him, so the fact that he was able to get it to us, it was a good feeling.”

Beasley, who often benefits more from crisp ball movement, made 5-for-15 3-pointersy Time this season. The Bucks are 11-4 in those games. Pat Connaughton also benefited, scoring 11 points and hitting two 3-pointers while making three free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt.

It was the first time Connaughton reached double figures since February 6. Bobby Portis added 14 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said players get to the right spots on the floor faster, and in their current situation no player wants to be the one stopping the ball if there is a greater option available.

“The ball finds the energy,” Portis said. “You're moving the basketball, you're free, you're driving and you're kicking, and I think the ball finds the right guy and everyone lines it up and shoots it. Hit or miss that's the right shot for that possession.

See also  Report: Texas A&M set to part ways with Jimbo Fisher 'early today'

Common: Bucks fan favorite Brandon Jennings crashes postgame interview, gets amazing response from Giannis Antetokounmpo

Five numbers

4 Games The Bucks have held the Hornets under 100 points this season.

5 Thanasis Antetokounmpo has had two technical fouls this season, after he fouled out while on the Bucks' bench in the first quarter against Charlotte. Antetokounmpo appeared to dislike the lack of communication on behalf of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had to battle between two Hornets to grab an offensive rebound.

8 Consecutive points from the Bucks to open the game, as well as consecutive three-pointers that the Hornets missed in the first quarter. These lines helped give Milwaukee a 35-25 lead after the first quarter. Charlotte was just 2-for-11 from behind the three-point line while the Bucks started the game 3-for-4 from the field.

30-3 The Bucks score when they score 30 or more points in the first quarter.

20,717 Career points for Lillard after scoring 17 goals against Charlotte. This moved him past George Gervin for 45th place all-time. After joining the 20,000-point club on December 19, Lillard quickly moved up the scoring ladder. At his current pace, Lillard has a chance to move up to No. 41 by the end of this regular season. Only seven active players have more points than Lillard.

more: With the Bucks, Damian Lillard no longer excels. He's just meeting his own expectations.

When will Kris Middleton play?

The three-time All-Star sprained his left ankle in the first quarter of Milwaukee's loss to Phoenix on Feb. 6 and has missed the last nine games. He did not travel with the team to Charlotte for Thursday's game, and Bucks coach Doc Rivers was not sure if Middleton would join the team in Chicago on Friday, but if he does it is likely he will not play.

It was a little different than Tuesday when Rivers said: “If he leaves, we think he might play. I think it's very close. We've got to be very careful with this.”

The 32-year-old has played in 43 of the Bucks' first 51 games, missing one game of the series seven times. He missed the November 26 game against Portland due to Achilles tendon pain.

Middleton, who re-signed with the Bucks in the offseason, must play in 19 of the remaining 22 regular season games to receive the $1.5 million bonus.

more: Khris Middleton, Bucks player, talks about getting through his toughest years and getting back to his old self

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *