Kidd-Gilchrist, Hibbert help Hornets beat Bucks 107-96

Associated Press

October 26, 2016

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, right, passes the ball around Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 23 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a shoulder injury, Roy Hibbert added 15 points, and the Charlotte Hornets opened their season with a 107-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

The Hornets led by as many as 24 points in the third quarter before fending off a late charge from Milwaukee.

The Bucks, who looked lackluster for much of the game, drew energy from Greg Monroe's hustle in the paint and Jason Terry's floater that cut the lead to 93-85 with 5:08 left.

But the Hornets held on down the stretch, getting a straightaway 3 from Marvin Williams for a 12-point lead with 3:21 left.

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, left, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova, right, during the first half.

The 7-foot-2 Hibbert had a couple of rim-rocking dunks in the third quarter that helped build the 20-point lead.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 31 points. The 6-foot-11 forward now serving as Milwaukee's primary ball-handler showed he was worth the four-year $100 million contract extension he signed before training camp.

But the Bucks couldn't keep up with Charlotte's crisp ball movement in the first half, when the Hornets had 17 assists on 22 field goals to build a 15-point lead at halftime.

Williams finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte, a playoff team a year ago following a 48-win season.

Charlotte lost Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee and Al Jefferson to free agency in the offseason, bringing in Marco Belinelli, Ramon Sessions and Hibbert.

The new Hornets are fitting in quite nicely. Kidd-Gilchrist is back after playing just seven games last season.

The Bucks were haunted by familiar problems that carried over from last year's 33-win squad.

Milwaukee was just 1 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half. Interior defense was also an issue and the Hornets took advantage of the scrambling Bucks by moving the ball quickly around the court.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, right, is defended by Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, left, during the second half.


Hornets: C Cody Zeller, who did not play the entire preseason because of a right knee injury, was 5 of 6 from the field for 15 points in 14 minutes. ... C-F Frank Kaminsky missed the game with a strained right foot. Kaminsky was a star in college at Wisconsin, where he helped lead the Badgers to two Final Four appearances.

Bucks: Rookie Malcolm Brogdon played well in his NBA debut, serving as the point guard when Antetokounmpo and Matthew Dellavedova were off the court. Brogdon, a second-round draft pick, finished with eight points and five assists in 21 minutes.


Hornets: At Miami on Friday.

Bucks: Host Nets on Saturday.