Antetokounmpo leads Bucks to comeback win against Hornets

Giannis drops 34, leads Bucks to comeback win (1:29)

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 34 points, including 14 in the fourth, and grabs 14 rebounds to help Milwaukee to a 108-99 comeback win over Charlotte. (1:29)

If the regular season ended Friday night, the Milwaukee Bucks would host the Charlotte Hornets in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 Eastern Conference quarterfinals postseason matchup.

For a moment, it seemed like the Hornets wouldn't mind that. The Bucks defeated the Hornets in both teams' season opener, but only by a score of 113-112. When the teams met again in November, the Hornets edged the Bucks 110-107.

The Bucks defeated the Hornets on Friday 108-99 to improve their NBA-best record to 35-12 behind Milwaukee All-Star power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo's 34 points and 14 rebounds.

The night started off very well for the Hornets at Fiserv Forum. Charlotte held the Bucks to 33.3 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter, and while no Hornet was in double figures at halftime, the Hornets did lead 54-52 at the end of the first half. Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo had a game-high 14 points at the half, but he probably should have had 16, as he missed a wide-open dunk.


Giannis botches fancy finish on fast break.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tries his best Michael Jordan impression on the fast break, but he gets a little too fancy and misses the wide-open dunk.

The Hornets continued to execute well into the third quarter, leading the Bucks by as many as 14 points and entering the fourth quarter with an 87-76 lead. While Antetokounmpo had a game-high 20 points through three quarters, he also had a game-worst plus-minus, as the Bucks were outscored by 15 points during Antetokounmpo's first 27 minutes. The Hornets weren't getting much from All-Star point guard Kemba Walker through three quarters, but the Hornets made 10 of 27 3s (37 percent) while holding the Bucks to 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from beyond the arc entering the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, four quarters are required to complete a game, and the All-Star captain Antetokounmpo was ready to completely flip the game.

The Hornets led by 13 points early in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo began his onslaught with a steal of Charlotte center Willy Hernangomez, which he turned into a dunk.


Giannis rattles rim with transition slam.

Sterling Brown comes up with the loose ball and sends it ahead to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who punishes the rim with an emphatic one-handed slam.

Then Antetokounmpo helped fuel an 11-0 run that forced the Hornets to call a timeout with 6:49 left to play, clinging to a 92-91 lead. After the timeout, Antetokounmpo took advantage of Charlotte center Bismack Biyombo for a dunk off a spin move, and the Bucks never trailed again.


Giannis spins for go-ahead slam.

Giannis Antetokounmpo puts a tough spin move on Bismack Biyombo, then puts down a one-handed slam to give the Bucks a 97-96 4th-quarter lead.

By time the quarter was over, the Greek Freak had outscored the Hornets by himself in the fourth quarter.

Antetokounmpo got it done in familiar fashion, as he repeatedly dominated the Hornets inside. Antetokounmpo enters the weekend averaging a league-high 17.5 points in the paint per game.

Milwaukee will start a five-game road trip Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their next game against the Hornets will be March 9 at Fiserv Forum.