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Recap: LaMelo Ball becomes franchise’s all-time leader in triple-doubles as Hornets fall to Bucks, 124-115

Ball passes Anthony Mason for sole possession of first-place with his eighth-career triple-double.

Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets fought to the bitter end but came up just short against the Milwaukee Bucks, 124-115, with LaMelo Ball making franchise history in the process.

Ball finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his eighth-career triple-double, passing Anthony Mason for the most in Charlotte (15-37) franchise history in just 151 games played at the age of 21. Terry Rozier added 20 points and seven rebounds, Gordon Hayward had 16 and seven, Jalen McDaniels put up 15 and six and Mason Plumlee notched 14 points and 14 boards. PJ Washington logged 14 points and seven rebounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee (34-17) with 34 points, 18 rebounds and four assists. Khris Middleton totaled 18 points and Jrue Holiday added 15 and a career-high 13 rebounds. Grayson Allen posted 12 points and Wesley Matthews had 11.

Ball got going early and often on his record-setting night, sitting at 5/3/4 by the midpoint of the fourth quarter as the Hornets led 16-15. Antetokounmpo racked up eight points in the first, quickly approaching the nine-point mark he was held to in the last meeting. With 10 points and six assists in the first quarter, Ball was on very early triple-double watch. Milwaukee led 34-27 after one.

The Bucks got ahead by as much as seven early in the second quarter before the Hornets clawed back and took a small lead with the help of a pair of threes from McDaniels, though a Joe Ingles triple got it right back for Milwaukee. Hayward’s streak of 13-straight made field goals came to an end in the second quarter; he’s no Plumdog Millionaire after all. Charlotte played an all-around solid first half, making seven threes, forcing six turnovers, and rebounding and moving the ball well. The Hornets had tallied 17 assists on 24 made field goals in the first two quarters and were tied 64-64 heading into the locker room.

Antetokounmpo missed an alley-oop dunk to open the second half, one of multiple missed dunks for the Bucks on the night. The Hornets hung tough in the second and took Milwaukee’s punches in stride with five scorers in double-figures halfway through the third, at which point they trailed 75-72. Washington fed Plumlee, who finished a lob through contact and converted the and-one free throw to tie the game. The Bucks responded with a 7-0 run that built to 16-5 by the end of the third to take a 97-90 lead into the final frame.

Ball sank an in-rhythm pull-up jumper from the elbow off a Dennis Smith Jr. screen in semi transition to open the fourth, a beautiful display of guard-to-guard screening and the advantages that can be created by it. After Jevon Carter nailed a deep pull-up three to put the Bucks ahead by 13, it felt like a wrap for the Hornets. This squad doesn’t stop playing until the final buzzer, though.

Ball assisted on a contact layup by McDaniels, cutting the deficit to seven and giving him sole possession of first-place in the Hornets’ record books with eight triple-doubles in his young career. Charlotte got as close as five with 1:06 remaining, but the Bucks did enough to hold on despite the Hornets’ best efforts to storm back. In the end, the Hornets fell, 124-115.

The Hornets are back in action on Thursday when they face the Chicago Bulls.

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