They certainly weren’t as lifeless as Wednesday, but the Charlotte Hornets couldn’t turn a solid road performance Friday into a victory.
With All-Star point guard Kemba Walker off the floor late, after being kicked in the head, the Hornets fell to the Bucks in Milwaukee, 109-104, at Bradley Center.
Hornets guard-forward Jeremy Lamb missed an open 3-pointer in the last 30 seconds, with his team down four. Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe hit a free throw at the other end, completing a 9-0 run for the victory.
Walker finished with 32 points for the Hornets, while Frank Kaminsky added 16. The Bucks got 28 points from Khris Middleton. Giannis Antetokunmpo added 26 and Bledsoe 24.
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The Hornets lost their fifth in their last six games, falling to 11-21.
Three who mattered
Walker: He had struggled greatly with his shot of late. Friday, he made nine of his first 17 attempts from the field.
Malcolm Brogdon: Last season’s surprise NBA Rookie of the Year, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter, giving the Bucks back the lead.
Bledsoe: He had 10 assists and five rebounds. He’s fitting in well, following the trade from the Phoenix Suns.
▪ Hornets center Dwight Howard suffered a dislocated left ring finger early in the game.
▪ Howard’s injury meant considerably more minutes for Johnny O’Bryant, who is on the fringes of the rotation. O’Bryant is different offensively from Howard; fewer post-ups and a better jump shooter. He hit a 3-pointer with under nine minutes left and his team clinging to a lead on the road.
▪ The Hornets sent third-string point guard Julyan Stone to the Greensboro Swarm Friday, for the second time this season. This is an opportunity to get him some minutes; he played only twice in the previous five games, and that was for a total of seven minutes.
▪ Games in Milwaukee always bring out a big following for Hornets forward-center Frank Kaminsky, who starred for Wisconsin. Kaminsky grew up outside Chicago.
▪ Hornets guard-forward Jeremy Lamb was coming off a career-high 32-point performance Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors. However, Lamb made just one of his five shots Friday over the first three quarters.
▪ The Hornets have an immediate rematch with the Bucks Saturday at Spectrum Center. That will complete the four-game season series.
▪ After Saturday, the Hornets have a three-day break from games before hosting the Boston Celtics Wednesday.
▪ The Hornets have their first West Coast trip coming up, starting Dec. 29 against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry might be back from an ankle injury in time to play in that game. He missed his only game in hometown Charlotte Dec. 6.
B Offense: Walker, who has been troubled by a strained left wrist, made four of his first nine 3-point attempts. That opens things up for all his teammates.
C Defense: They couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch; Howard’s absence took away any real rim-protector.
B Coaching: Acting coach Stephen Silas got them back on point to start this game, after the Hornets were crushed in the second quarter against the Raptors.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell
Bucks 109, Hornets 104
CHARLOTTE (104)—Kidd-Gilchrist 3-11 0-0 6, Williams 4-8 6-6 15, Howard 1-3 0-0 2, Walker 13-21 2-3 32, Batum 5-7 2-2 14, O’Bryant III 1-7 0-0 3, Kaminsky 6-12 2-4 16, Carter-Williams 1-6 0-0 3, Monk 0-0 0-0 0, Lamb 5-13 2-2 13. Totals 39-88 14-17 104.
MILWAUKEE (109)—Middleton 12-22 1-1 28, Antetokounmpo 9-20 7-8 26, Henson 2-2 2-2 6, Bledsoe 8-16 7-10 24, Snell 0-4 0-0 0, Maker 2-4 0-0 4, Dellavedova 0-3 0-0 0, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0, Kilpatrick 2-3 0-0 5, Brogdon 5-11 2-2 14. Totals 41-87 19-23 109.
3-Point Goals—Charlotte 12-26 (Walker 4-9, Batum 2-3, Kaminsky 2-4, O’Bryant III 1-1, Carter-Williams 1-2, Williams 1-2, Lamb 1-4, Kidd-Gilchrist 0-1), Milwaukee 8-29 (Middleton 3-8, Brogdon 2-3, Kilpatrick 1-2, Antetokounmpo 1-3, Bledsoe 1-6, Maker 0-1, Snell 0-3, Dellavedova 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Charlotte 43 (Williams 10), Milwaukee 43 (Henson 8). Assists—Charlotte 21 (Batum 6), Milwaukee 27 (Bledsoe 10). Total Fouls—Charlotte 18, Milwaukee 16. Technicals—Charlotte coach Hornets (Defensive three second). A—17,018 (18,717).