On a night in which red tops scattered the Bradley Center crowd for former Badgers star Frank Kaminksy’s return to Wisconsin, the Bucks were unable to finish off the Hornets by a final score of 98-95.
The Bucks had a chance to tie the game up on the final possession, but a Khris Middleton three-point attempt as time expired rattled out and gave Charlotte the victory.
Milwaukee led by as much as 13 points after a 22-5 run in the third quarter, but allowed Charlotte back into the game the ensuing period The Hornets began the fourth on a 12-2 run and a Kemba Walker three gave Charlotte the lead, 82-80 with 6:45 remaining.
Key turnovers and fouls were a major blow to the Bucks down the stretch. Jason Kidd acknowledged Charlotte’s grittiness to work its way back into the game along with their ability to take advantage of Bucks turnovers.
“I give Charlotte credit,” said Kidd. “They kept the game close. What it comes down to is taking care of the ball and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Charlotte then capitalized on a Greg Monroe turnover, extending the lead to 90-86 on a Marvin Williams three with 3:09 left, glazing off a 6-0 run, forcing the Bucks to call a timeout.
“[We had] a lot of turnovers,” said Middleton. “We turned the ball over a lot in the fourth and allowed them to get some easy baskets.”
The Bucks were given a golden chance at victory with 17.6 seconds remaining in regulation on a turnover off an inbounds pass by the Hornets, but were unable to take advantage. A Khris Middleton 14-foot jump shot rimmed out with 5.6 seconds left and sent Kemba Walker to the line where he went 2-of-2 and gave the Hornets a 98-95 lead.
The game would finish with that score as a Middleton three-point attempt failed to fall as time expired, inking the win for the Hornets.
Despite the result, the Bucks believed they did a nice job positioning themselves with a chance to extend the game.
“I thought we were real sturdy and had a chance to go to overtime,” said Mayo. I thought we played well. [We had] the right energy and were just a stop or two away.”
Headlining the way for the Bucks was Jabari Parker, who tied a career high in points with 23 and posted his first 20/10 game of his career.
“Jabari is a great player,” said Mayo. “Once the game slows down, he’ll be that much better. Right now he’s picking his spots and he’s aggressive. It’s good for our team.”
Khris Middleton chipped in 20 points and Michael Carter-Williams scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, his highest field goal percentage of the season.
Cody Zeller matched Parker and achieved a career-high of 23 points as well, going 9-of-12 from the field.
Kemba Walker led all scorers with 25 points and six rebounds and four assists. It was Walker’s fifth straight game scoring at least 20 points.
In his return to Wisconsin as a professional, Frank Kaminsky started for the first time in his NBA career. He finished with four points and six boards in 24 minutes.
“[It was] a little bit different,” said Kaminsky on his return to the Badger state. “There was a little bit more nerves, and a little bit more excitement for me. I would have liked to played better, but our team got the win so that’s all I can ask for.”
Following tonight’s game, the Bucks travel to Atlanta to battle the Hawks tomorrow night. They will then return home to square off against the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryant’s final game in Milwaukee before going back on the road for a matchup at Boston on Thursday.