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Hornets run out of gas in the fourth again, lose to Bucks, 131-114

For the second time in as many visits to Milwaukee, the Hornets played well for the first three quarters before falling off in the fourth.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets can go toe to toe with the Milwaukee Bucks for three quarters. It’s just that pesky fourth quarter that does them in.

The teams were deadlocked form the majority of the first quarter, before the Hornets created some space with just over three minutes to go. That lead held through the end of the quarter, where a Miles Bridges 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the period put the Hornets up 32-24. The rookie had a couple of ferocious dunks to go with that jumper, as part of perhaps his best opening quarter as a starter. Kemba Walker, tossed in 12 points of his own in the opening frame.

A bench unit of Devonte’ Graham, Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, and Frank Kaminsky surprisingly went toe to toe with the Bucks in the early part of the second quarter. The Hornets led by as many as 14 points, and they got that lead in the most bizarre way these eyes have ever seen:

The Bucks clawed their way back within four by the halftime buzzer. Miles Bridges, Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, and Jeremy Lamb all had 9 points in the half to complement Walker’s 12.

As Dell Curry said on the broadcast, someone must have challenged the Bucks at halftime. They put up 39 points in the third quarter, most coming around the basket. Brook Lopez turned back the clock and terrorized the Hornets on the low block. He scored 17 points in the third, none of them coming from beyond the arc. Eight of the points came from the free throw line, which was a theme for the quarter. The Bucks went to the line 17 times in the period and converted on 14 of them. Meanwhile, the Hornets offense stagnated, particularly in the latter stages of the quarter. Kemba Walker entered the game for the quarter’s final possession and made a tough floater over Lopez at the buzzer. That brought the Hornets within seven heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bucks jumped on the Hornets early in the fourth, building their lead up to 13 points in just over two minutes, thanks in large part to back-to-back 3-pointers from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Hornets couldn’t respond with a big enough push to get back into the game. They pulled no closer than eight points, and the Bucks lead only grew from there.

Kemba Walker led the Hornets in scoring with 25 points. Frank Kaminsky had 16, Miles Bridges and Jeremy Lamb had 15 apiece, and Nicolas Batum had 14.

The Hornets gave up 107 points in the final three quarters and couldn’t muster enough offense to overcome that.

Up next is a trip to Houston to take on a streaking Rockets team.