Hornets Bucks Basketball

Bucks' Eric Bledsoe makes a steal attempt against Hornets' Nicolas Batum during the second half Friday night.


MILWAUKEE — With Dwight Howard going out early, Kemba Walker did his best to give the Charlotte Hornets a chance to grab a road victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But when Walker went down with an apparent injury late in the fourth quarter, the Bucks capitalized, closing on a 9-0 run for a 109-104 victory Friday night at the Bradley Center.

“This was a tough game,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “There were a lot of emotions in the last game we played. Charlotte is playing extremely well and hard, especially with their coach out. ... They were right there and we found a way down the stretch to make plays on both ends.”

After Walker gave Charlotte a 104-100 lead with 2:24 remaining, Milwaukee held the Hornets scoreless the rest of the way. The Bucks tied it on dunks by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton and took the lead on Eric Bledsoe’s layup.

Middleton scored 28 points, Antetokounmpo had 26, and Bledsoe had 24 points and 10 assists in the first game of the home-and-home set.

Walker had 32 points before leaving with the apparent injury after losing the ball and falling to the floor with the game tied at 104 with 1:42 to play. He also went to the ground in pain in front of the Hornets bench just 39 seconds into the fourth quarter and did not return until there was 5:37 left.

“That’s tough for them,” Middleton said. “He’s their leader, he’s their fourth-quarter player and late-game player, makes big shots and big plays for them, so we got a little luck with him going out.

“We did a great job of taking advantage.”

The Hornets did not provide an update as to why Walker left the game. Howard played just five minutes after dislocating his left ring finger in the first quarter.

Howard suffered the injury less than two minutes into the game and temporarily stayed in after having the finger taped during a timeout.

"I have no idea what happened," Howard said. "I went to take the ball out, I looked down and my finger was bent all the way to the side. They put it back in place, I went back in to play, but it just kept popping out."

Hornets interim coach Stephen Silas was unsure as to if either of his top two scorers would play when the two teams meet in Charlotte on Saturday.

"Those are our two main guys," Silas said. "If we could get healthy, and try to figure out the (Bucks) small lineup, I don't think we did a good job of that today."

Former University of Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky added 16 points for Charlotte. He received a loud ovation when he checked into the game for the first time.

The Hornets opened up a 75-64 lead with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Milwaukee then went on a 12-0 run to take a 76-75 advantage on Middleton’s dunk with 3:16 left in the third.

Milwaukee took the lead twice in the final minute of the third quarter, but Walker answered with 3-pointers each time to give the Hornets an 85-83 lead heading to the fourth.

In the paint

Signed to a two-way contract Monday, Sean Kilpatrick made his Bucks debut, scoring five points in 10 minutes. ... Kidd was named a nominee for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Finalists will be announced during NBA All-Star Weekend in February. ...  ... Guard Treveon Graham missed a third consecutive game due to back spasms. ... Bucks guard Tony Snell returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in his first game back from left patellar tendinitis. 

Charlotte 23 36 26 19 — 104

Milwaukee 26 26 31 26 — 109

CHARLOTTE — Kidd-Gilchrist 3-11 0-0 6, Williams 4-8 6-6 15, Howard 1-3 0-0 2, Walker 13-21 2-3 32, Batum 5-7 2-2 14, O’Bryant III 1-7 0-0 3, Kaminsky 6-12 2-4 16, Carter-Williams 1-6 0-0 3, Monk 0-0 0-0 0, Lamb 5-13 2-2 13. Totals 39-88 14-17 104.

MILWAUKEE — Middleton 12-22 1-1 28, Antetokounmpo 9-20 7-8 26, Henson 2-2 2-2 6, Bledsoe 8-16 7-10 24, Snell 0-4 0-0 0, Maker 2-4 0-0 4, Dellavedova 0-3 0-0 0, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0, Kilpatrick 2-3 0-0 5, Brogdon 5-11 2-2 14. Totals 41-87 19-23 109.

3-point goals — C 12-26 (Walker 4-9, Batum 2-3, Kaminsky 2-4, O’Bryant III 1-1, Carter-Williams 1-2, Williams 1-2, Lamb 1-4, Kidd-Gilchrist 0-1), M 8-29 (Middleton 3-8, Brogdon 2-3, Kilpatrick 1-2, Antetokounmpo 1-3, Bledsoe 1-6, Maker 0-1, Snell 0-3, Dellavedova 0-3). Rebounds — C 43 (Williams 10), M 43 (Henson 8). Assists — C 21 (Batum 6), M 27 (Bledsoe 10). Total fouls — C 18, M 16. Technicals — C (Defensive three second). Att. — 17,018.