The Hornets got off to a hot start with four early 3-pointers from LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. The Bucks used most of the rest of the quarter to erase that deficit in a quarter that ended in a dead heat. Ball finished the quarter with a game high 13 points as the teams ended the quarter tied at 32.
The Bucks hit three very easy 3-pointers to open the second quarter to break the game open. A James Borrego timeout stopped the bleeding, but it couldn’t dig the Hornets out of the hole. The offense was more dribble-happy than we’re used to seeing and the Hornets struggled to get looks that weren’t heavily contested runners. The Bucks outscored the Hornets 30-9 over the first eight minutes of the quarter to blow the game wide open. It led to a 76-53 lead for the Bucks heading into the half.
A 20-11 start to the second half in favor of the Bucks essentially ended the game with 19-and-a-half minutes still to play. The Hornets offense was largely composed of jumpers and Montrezl Harrell free throws. The free throw part of that offense carried into the fourth quarter, where the Hornets attempted 14 freebies and made only half of them. The mostly regular rotation outplayed the Bucks deep reserves to make the score look slightly more respectable than the flow of the game would have suggested.
It was a massively disappointing performance coming off the heartbreaking loss to the Pistons on Sunday night. Losing to the defending champion Bucks is nothing to be ashamed above, but the bigger problem is the Hornets didn’t seem to improve upon the things that lost them the game in Detroit. They didn’t pay attention to detail on the defensive end, giving up easy transition looks to the Bucks and leaving shooters open on the perimeter even after those shooters knocked down a shot or two in the preceding possessions. The offense was disrupted by the Bucks pressure off the ball and the Hornets countered with a lot of unsuccessful attempts to break down defenders one on one. It looked like the offense you see in college games where a large chunk of the shot attempts are heavily contested runners after too much unproductive passing and dribbling.
The Hornets will have a day to lick their wounds before visiting a Cavaliers team that has struggled of late but presents a tremendous matchup problem for the Hornets.