Hornets vs. Bucks NBA game: Who won? Final score

Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball shoots past Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball shoots past Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)


Considering how things transpired here nearly three weeks ago, when the Charlotte Hornets essentially embarrassed Milwaukee in historical fashion, there was little reason to believe the Bucks suddenly developed amnesia.

That couldn’t possibly happen, right? No exacting a measure of revenge?

“They are way past that, but (it is) to a certain degree because that’s who they are, especially (Giannis Antetokounmpo),” coach Steve Clifford said Tuesday. “He’s a prideful guy, an incredible competitor. But this is one of 82. They played deep in the playoffs a number of years and when you are around a team like that of veteran guys, it’s not like they’ve circled, ‘Hey they are coming back.’ The best teams play like that every night. That’s what they do.”

Perhaps the Bucks didn’t have it quite outlined on their digital calendars, but there is little doubt they forgot the previous drubbing at the hands of the Hornets. Although Milwaukee didn’t celebrate as the final seconds ticked off the clock of its 124-115 win against Charlotte at Fiserv Forum, the stranglehold the Bucks had on the action in the second half undoubtedly showed they took this one quite seriously.

Thus, rather than pushing their span of wins to a season-best three straight games, the Hornets (15-37) instead began a four-day trek through the upper midwest by succumbing to Milwaukee courtesy of a rough second half.

Here are some key takeaways from the Hornets’ streak-busting loss:

LaMelo was offensive

The Hornets’ engine got revved up early thanks to their star point guard.

LaMelo Ball picked up right where he left off with his hot shooting in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win against Miami, collecting 10 points and six assists in the first quarter. It marked the second time in his two-plus seasons he’s posted at least 10 points and five assists in a quarter, and those six assists tied his career high for a quarter.

That outburst propelled Ball to his first triple-double of the season. He totaled 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to record the eighth triple-double of his career, which the most in franchise history.

Ball also got to the free-throw line six times, a sign he’s continuing to be aggressive and not simply settling for jumpers. He’s attacking the basket frequently.

Little resistance

Inside. Outside. The paint. Beyond the arc.

Pick a spot on the floor and Milwaukee seemed to have an uncontested shot from that exact locale at some point. The Hornets were slow on their rotations and paid for their lack of apparent will, failing to get enough stops defensively in the second half.

There were far too many occasions when the Bucks had plenty of time to uncork a shot.

McDaniels fighting through funk

After a strong start to his fourth season, Jalen McDaniels tailed off recently and had struggled with his shot. The forward didn’t crack double figures in scoring in four of his previous five outings and few things seemed to be going right for him.

Even when he got a bucket to go early in Tuesday’s second quarter, he was whistled for an offensive foul. But that didn’t deter McDaniels too much and he finally kicked things up a notch offensively.

He poured in 11 points in the second quarter and was a catalyst off the bench. The three 3-pointers he knocked down likely felt pretty good since he had hit just two of his past 22 beyond the arc before finding the touch against Milwaukee.

Roderick Boone joined the Observer in September 2021 to cover the Charlotte Hornets and NBA. In his more than two decades of writing about the world of sports, he’s chronicled everything from high school rodeo to a major league baseball no-hitter to the Super Bowl to the Finals. The Long Island native has deep North Carolina roots and enjoys watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” endlessly.
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