Rozier and Hornets hand third loss to Bucks in last 4 games

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CHARLOTTE, NC – Terry Rozier scored 28 points, Miles Bridges added 21 points and eight rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 114-106, on Saturday night (Sunday Manila time), offering the defending champions of the NBA their third loss in four games.

LaMelo Ball scored 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Hornets, who held Milwaukee 38.9 percent from shots in the Bucks’ second road game in two nights.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 43 points and 12 rebounds, while Khris Middleton added 27 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Milwaukee, who won in Brooklyn on Friday but fell to 13-9 on the road. Antetokounmpo finished 18 of 20 from the free throw line.

“It’s a big win for us,” Hornets coach James Borrego said.

Bridges added: “It gives us confidence. They are world champions for a reason. “

The teams meet in Charlotte on Monday.

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“They play hard and they are disjointed,” Antetokounmpo said. “They defend man to man and then they go.… We have to trust ourselves and just focus on ourselves.”

Rozier continued his breakneck pace from 3 points, getting 6 of 10, including a massive 3 with 34 seconds left to put the Hornets in the lead of seven.

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Rozier has managed 36 3 points in the last eight games, while shooting 49.3% from beyond the arc.

“Terry is a mercenary,” Borrego said. “He’s an elite catch-and-shoot guy.”

Charlotte was leading 47-41 at halftime after keeping Antetokounmpo at eight points and the Bucks at 30.6% from shots in the first half.

Milwaukee was down 14 with 4:50 left, but Antetokounmpo and Middleton pulled them back, reducing the lead to four with 47.5 seconds left with a series of big baskets. This included an offensive rebound from Antetokounmpo, whose flying elbow inadvertently left Mason Plumlee with a cut above the eye.

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But Rozier buried a crucial 3 point left wing to reduce the lead to seven and keep the Bucks at a safe distance and Bridges put the game aside with a quick layup for a three-point game with 10.7 seconds to play.

“I just know the whole gym was looking at Melo, so I just tried to confuse the defense. I got away and I was wide open,” Rozier said of his 3 point.

Bobby Portis of Milwaukee said he has watched the Hornets a lot this season and been impressed, calling them a fun and dynamic team with top players at Ball and Bridges.

He also knows the Bucks are getting everyone’s best effort this season.

“We won last year so every game for us will be a big game,” said Portis, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds. “Every game has teams coming for us so we were able to compete at a high level in every game.”

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Miles Bridges goes 9 for 16 in 35 minutes of action.

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Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Portis totaled 89 points and shot 29 of 54 from the field. But this trio didn’t get much help from the rest of the squad.

The other eight Milwaukee players who played were a total of 6 of 36 on the field and accounted for just 17 points.

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OUBRE FIND MEANS

Kelly Oubre had 18 points for the Hornets following a game where he tallied 32 points on a career-high nine to three points – including an NBA record tying eight in the fourth quarter – in a resounding victory over the Detroit Pistons. He was only 2 of 11 beyond the arc against the Bucks, but found other ways to be effective by cutting to the edge, sliding behind defenders on the back cuts and running on the field to finish on quick breaks.

ADVICE

Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and George Hill did not play due to health and safety protocols, while Brook Lopez was absent as he recovered from back surgery. … Middleton has had six turnovers.

Hornets: Shot 16 of 48 with 3 points after setting a franchise record of 24 3 of 42 attempts against the Pistons.

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