Charlotte Hornets

With strong performance off the bench, Charlotte Hornets edge Milwaukee Bucks

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, right, drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova Saturday at Spectrum Center.
Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, right, drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova Saturday at Spectrum Center. AP

Among the Charlotte Hornets’ many warts of late has been the inability to win close games. For one night, at least, that changed.

The Hornets got a key stop late in the game when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist forced Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton into a missed 18-foot jump shot. Kemba Walker and Michael Carter-Williams each hit two free throws late to secure a 111-106 victory at Spectrum Center.

The victory was just the Hornets’ second in their last eight games. They improved to 12-21, while the Bucks fell to 17-14. This completed their four-game series with each team winning two.

Hornets center Dwight Howard totaled 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Walker added 19 points and eight assists.

Middleton scored 31 for the Bucks.

Three who mattered

Middleton: For whatever reason, some of this Bucks guard’s best games have come against the Hornets. He had his career-high in the previous game this season in Charlotte.

Treveon Graham: He gave a boost to a Hornets bench that has been suspect much of the season.

Howard: Another 20-10 performance, a night after a significant finger injury.

Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard totaled 21 points and 16 rebounds in Saturday’s win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Nell Redmond AP


▪  Walker (head contusion) and Howard (dislocated finger) both started despite being injured in Milwaukee Friday. Walker took an ugly shot to the head that caused him to miss the end of the loss to the Bucks.

▪  Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Saturday’s game with a sore knee.

▪  The Hornets wore their classic uniforms from the 1980s Saturday. They will do so one more time this season, Jan. 13 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

▪  The Hornets got a nice little boost off the bench from Graham, who has been out with back spasms; Graham hit two 3-pointers in 13 first-half minutes.

▪  The Hornets recalled guard Julyan Stone from the Greensboro Swarm. Stone was with the Swarm Friday to get some minutes, after totaling about seven in the Hornets’ previous five games.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Hornets’ schedule is about to get rough: A home game against the Boston Celtics Wednesday, followed by a four-game West Coast trip that starts with the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

▪  Hornets forward Kidd-Gilchrist started the game 1-of-4 from the field, and played just 15 minutes over the first three quarters.

▪  Howard managed playing with four fouls for much of the second half.

Report card

B+ OFFENSE: The bench shot well (never a given) and the Hornets made their free throws late.

C DEFENSE: Even with Antetokounmpo not playing, the Bucks had a relatively easy time scoring in the lane (48 points).

B COACHING: Good move by Stephen Silas to lean on Graham’s savvy off the bench.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

Hornets 111, Bucks 106

MILWAUKEE (106)—Snell 4-7 2-2 11, Middleton 11-24 5-5 31, Henson 7-10 2-4 16, Bledsoe 6-13 3-4 16, Dellavedova 2-5 0-0 4, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Maker 2-3 2-2 7, Liggins 0-2 0-0 0, Kilpatrick 5-9 0-0 11, Brogdon 5-12 0-0 10, Brown 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 42-87 14-17 106.

CHARLOTTE (111)—Kidd-Gilchrist 2-5 1-2 5, Williams 1-3 2-2 4, Howard 7-11 7-12 21, Walker 5-15 6-9 19, Batum 5-13 2-2 12, O’Bryant III 1-2 3-4 5, Kaminsky 5-9 2-2 14, Carter-Williams 1-2 2-2 4, Monk 0-1 0-0 0, Graham 5-8 0-0 14, Lamb 4-5 5-5 13. Totals 36-74 30-40 111.













3-Point Goals—Milwaukee 8-26 (Middleton 4-10, Maker 1-1, Snell 1-3, Kilpatrick 1-4, Bledsoe 1-5, Brogdon 0-1, Liggins 0-2), Charlotte 9-21 (Graham 4-5, Walker 3-7, Kaminsky 2-3, Carter-Williams 0-1, Lamb 0-1, Williams 0-1, Batum 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Milwaukee 35 (Bledsoe 7), Charlotte 43 (Howard 16). Assists—Milwaukee 25 (Bledsoe 6), Charlotte 22 (Walker 8). Total Fouls—Milwaukee 32, Charlotte 20. Technicals—Milwaukee coach Bucks (Defensive three second), Charlotte coach Hornets (Defensive three second). A—18,363 (19,077).