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Bucks’ big rally falls just short; Hornets hold on

The Milwaukee Bucks had more than their share of chances. They simply could not make the big shot to complete a major comeback.

Trailing by as many as 25 points, the Bucks got as close as a point before falling to the Charlotte Hornets, 110-107. Monday night at the Spectrum Arena.

Eric Bledsoe’s desperation 3-pointer rattled out at the buzzer, leaving the Bucks just short of overtime.

On a night of major swings, the Bucks could connect on only 3 of 15 fourth-quarter 3-pointers when they had the Hornets on the ropes. After making 8 of their first 10 3-pointers in the opening six minutes, the Bucks made just 8 of the last 36 the rest of the way.

Khris Middleton made his first three 3-pointers in the opening 4 1/2 minutes, then missed his final nine attempts, four in the final 7:25 and two in the final 47 seconds.

The game featured three extreme swings.

In making 8 of their first 10 3-pointers in the opening six minutes, the Bucks took a 28-14 lead.

Over a 21 1/2-minute span from there, the Hornets outscored the Bucks by a whopping 63-24 margin for a 77-52 lead.

Trailing, 87-62, with just over 4 minutes left in the third, the Bucks outscored the Hornets, 55-31, to get within a point.

Tony Parker missed two free throws with 21 seconds left, and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s layup with 15 seconds pulled the Bucks within 108-107. Kemba Walker made two free throws with 7.1 seconds left, and the Bucks could not get an open look at a tying 3-pointer.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks (14-6) with 20 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Antetokounmpo had just five points at halftime.

Eric Bledsoe added 17, and Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton added 15 each.

Two of Connaughton’s points came on a highlight-reel tip dunk with 7:22. Middleton missed a 3-pointer from straight out. Connaughton came flying in from the left side of the lane, grabbed the ball with his left hand and slammed it down.

Middleton (14 points) suffered a terrible shooting night, going 4 for 18, and Malcolm Brogdon (11 points) went 4 for 16 as the Bucks shot just 41.1% (37 for 90).

Walker and Jeremy Lamb each had 21 points to lead the Hornets, who improved to .500 at 10-10.

Although Parker missed the two free throws with 21 seconds left, he came up with two huge baskets after Bledsoe pulled the Bucks within 97-93 with 5:15 left. Parker hit a pullup jumper with 4:52 left, then added a one-hander in the lane with 4:21. Without those two baskets, the Bucks may have completed their rally.

Bucks rookie Donte DiVincenzo played 10 effective minutes after missing the previous five games with a strained quadriceps. DiVincenzo went 3 for 3, inclucing two 3-pointers, for eight points.


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