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Bucks blow lead before topping Hornets in OT



CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Milwaukee Bucks weren’t about to let history repeat itself Monday night.

The Bucks watched another big lead disappear against the Charlotte Hornets, but this time they were able to regroup in overtime and pull out a 104-94 victory.

They outscored the Hornets 21-11 and led by as many as 13 points in the extra session after blowing a 21-point first-half lead and having to come from behind in the final minute of regulation.

It was eerily similar to opening night on Oct. 29, when the Hornets rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit to win 108-106 in overtime.

Bucks coach Jason Kidd thought the difference this time was his young team’s resiliency.

“I’m seeing composure,” Kidd said. “A group of young kids, new coaching staff, new players, learning each other, not panicking and believing they can find a way. And they found a way tonight. I thought we were great in overtime. You look at Game 1 and now Game 32, and it showed some growth.”

Milwaukee guard Brandon Knight led the way with 18 points and made several key plays late in the game, including a follow shot with 16 seconds left in regulation to tie the score 83-83.

The Bucks (16-16) also got 17 points and nine rebounds from forward Jared Dudley, 16 points and eight rebounds from forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, 15 points from center Zaza Pachulia, 13 points from guard O.J. Mayo, and 11 points and five blocked shots from center John Henson.

“We’ve had overtime in Brooklyn, we had overtime here, so we’ve been in some tight games and overtimes,” Henson said. “It wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before, so we held it together and got the win. I think Giannis was the catalyst. He was a player they couldn’t stop there for a second, and that helped us open up the offense, and the shots were falling.”

The Hornets (10-22) lost their third straight. Guard Kemba Walker led the way with 28 points, two nights after scoring 42 against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, and guard Gerald Henderson scored 19. Center Al Jefferson, the Hornets’ leading scorer coming into the game, was held to just six on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.

The Bucks went on an 18-0 run early in the game and led 43-22 late in the second quarter. In one stretch, the Hornets missed 23 of 24 shots from the field.

However, Milwaukee went cold in the second half, getting outscored 29-19 in the third quarter and 22-15 in the fourth. The Hornets came all the way back and took an 83-81 lead on Walker’s drive with 54.5 seconds left in regulation.

Knight’s follow shot off his own miss tied it again at 83-83, and then both teams failed to score on their final possessions. Walker threw a pass out of bounds with 2.6 seconds left, and Dudley missed a 20-footer at the buzzer.

Henson’s three-point play gave the Bucks the lead for good at 88-85 in overtime, and Milwaukee hit seven of eight from the field and six of seven from the free-throw line in the extra five minutes.

Antetokounmpo scored five points in overtime.

“We were playing through Giannis, we were basically running one play and getting a lot of things off of it, and that’s where a young team grows,” Kidd said. “When they grow together, you can see, and it’s great to watch.”

The victory also allowed the Bucks to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Hornets over the past three seasons.

“We’ve got to be more consistent with our play,” Walker said. “One time we play well and one time we don’t. That can’t happen. We tend to get away from the good things we do when we win, and that can’t happen.”

Henderson added, “Obviously, at the end of the game, we had a chance to win and we put ourselves in position, but we didn’t play that great throughout the game. If we take care of some of the mess that we started the game out with in that first half, the result may be different out there.”

NOTES: The Bucks were without four players on Monday night. F Jabari Parker is out for the rest of the season with a torn left ACL, and F Damien Inglis has been out all season rehabbing from right ankle surgery. F Ersan Ilyasova missed his third straight game with a concussion, and C Larry Sanders missed his third in a row because of illness. … Hornets G Lance Stephenson missed his seventh straight game with what is being termed a pelvic strain. G Jannero Pargo missed his third straight game with lower back soreness. … The Hornets sent two players down to the NBA Development League on Sunday, shipping F Noah Vonleh to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and F Jeffery Taylor to the Austin Spurs. … The Bucks came into the game with the highest-scoring bench in the NBA, with the bench averaging 45.1 points. They were right on their average with a combined 45 Monday night. … The Bucks played on the road for the eighth time in the past 11 games. … The Hornets play at Houston on Wednesday. … The Bucks play at Cleveland on Wednesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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