That road loss to the Detroit Pistons Friday sure got the Charlotte Hornets’ attention.
After some slow starts of late, they climbed all over the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday, jumping out to a 20-point plus lead in the third quarter on seven 3-pointers. Final score: Hornets 115, Bucks 91.
Small forward Nic Batum (25 points, seven rebounds and eight assists) set the tone in the first half, primarily with his 3-point shooting. Also center Cody Zeller did a fine job guarding Bucks counterpart Greg Monroe.
The Hornets finished this game shooting 555 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range.
The Hornets improved to 42-31, while the Bucks fell to 30-44.
Three who mattered
Batum: There was a span of the second quarter when he was unstoppable from the arc.
Kemba Walker: He’s looked a little tired of late, but he was in attack mode second half Saturday, finishing with 18 points.
Zeller: So fortunate the injury to Al Jefferson showed Zeller’s a center, not a power forward.
▪ This was former Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky’s second trip to Milwaukee with the Hornets. Dozens of Kaminsky No. 44 jerseys in the stands, both from Wisconsin and the Hornets.
▪ Hornets coach Steve Clifford chose to stay with his normal starting lineup, but was prepared to go big – Kaminsky at power forward, Marvin Williams at small forward and Nic Batum at shooting guard – to counter Milwaukee’s uncommon size.
▪ Bucks coach Jason Kidd got back former North Carolina big man John Henson from injury recently. Kidd would like to play Henson at power forward with Miles Plumlee, but Kidd said that’s contingent in the long haul with Henson guarding the 3-point shot and extending his own shooting range.
▪ The Bucks were in danger Saturday of being eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and a victory by either the Pacers or Bulls.
▪ The Bucks are one of the NBA’s best points-in-the-paint team one night after the Hornets lost to a great offensive rebounding team in the Detroit Pistons.
▪ Batum matched his single-game high this season for 3-pointers made with five in the first half.
▪ Jeremy Lin took a hard blow to the jaw from Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton.
▪ Hornets were solid inside in the first half, trailing in points in the paint by only 18-16.
A OFFENSE: They reached 90 points at the end of the third quarter with excellent shooting, building a 26-point lead.
A DEFENSE: The Bucks’ size can be a big problem, and it didn’t faze the Hornets.
A COACHING: The coaching staff didn’t allow the Pistons loss to become a trend on the road.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell