Struggling Bucks look to regain past form against Hornets

The Milwaukee Bucks look to get back to their winning ways after dropping four of their last five games when the Charlotte Hornets visit on Monday night.

Milwaukee has also lost three of its last four games at home following a 126-123 loss to the Nets on Saturday. The Bucks were outscored 23-13 over the final 5:30, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Bobby Portis tied his season high with 30 points thanks to a career-high eight 3-pointers. Antetokounmpo trailed closely behind with 29 to go with his 14 rebounds and six assists on 8-of-20 shooting, and Khris Middleton notched 25 points and seven assists.

Third-quarter struggles continued to be costly, as Milwaukee found itself on the wrong end of a 27-8 run during the frame. Over the past five games, the Bucks have allowed an average of 32.2 points in the third.

“They just kicked our butt in the third quarter. They scored 43 points,” Portis said. “I mean, we scored enough just to keep it close, but I mean, that’s been our kryptonite the whole year. I’m kind of just tired of talking about it.”

Injuries certainly have not helped Milwaukee put an end to its second-half woes. Brook Lopez practiced with the team but is still recovering from back surgery, and Pat Connaughton is still sidelined after undergoing surgery to fix a fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand.

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Prior to the game against the Nets, head coach Mike Budenholzer also said that George Hill will be out for at least another week with a neck injury.

The Hornets have struggled lately as well, dropping 10 of their last 12 games. They are coming off a 127-126 overtime loss to the Pistons on Sunday night due to Kelly Olynyk’s game-winning jumper as time expired.

Terry Rozier led all scorers with 33 points on 12-of-21 shooting. Miles Bridges tallied 29 points and 10 rebounds to record his fourth consecutive double-double, and LaMelo Ball supplied 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

“They made some big shots, we made some big shots, they just made one more than us,” Hornets head coach James Borrego said. “We had free throws, we had layups to close out this game. Didn’t go our direction. Give them credit. They made some tough shots. So move forward, another one tomorrow.”

Lack of defense has been fueling Charlotte’s losing ways, as the Hornets have allowed at least 110 in points in eight of 11 games in February.

Gordon Hayward’s absence has also hampered the Hornets. Hayward remains out indefinitely after exiting a game against the Raptors on Feb. 7 with an ankle injury. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 16.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.

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Nick Richards could also miss Monday’s game with a foot injury, and Jalen McDaniels is questionable after missing Sunday’s meeting with Detroit due to an ankle injury.

Monday marks the fourth and final meeting between Charlotte and the Bucks this season. Milwaukee has a chance to even the season series after the Hornets earned a pair of wins on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. Milwaukee won the first meeting 127-125 back in December.

–Field Level Media

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