MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Bucks were without their usual five starters Friday night as they hosted the Charlotte Hornets one night after losing in Dallas.
And then the Bucks lost their third in a row, resting the top players one night after closing a six-game trip with a 116-101 loss to Dallas. Jordan Nwora, a second-round rookie pick from Louisville, scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Bucks.
Reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a fourth straight game with left knee pain that kept him out of six of the Bucks’ last 11 games. The Bucks also missed Jrue Holiday (left knee bruised), Donte DiVincenzo (right hip bruised), Brook Lopez (back pain), Khris Middleton (right knee sore) and reserve forward PJ Tucker (left calf strained).
“We didn’t know until the game, probably 45 minutes before the game or something,” McDaniels said. “But it’s still the same mentality. Whether they play or not, we are still going there to compete, play hard and win. “
Tucker has missed the Bucks’ last nine games. DiVincenzo, Holiday, Lopez and Middleton had all played on Thursday.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was unsure how long they could return.
“We’ll see what they feel over the next two days,” Budenholzer said ahead of the game. “I think we’re hopeful, with maybe PJ being the exception, that these guys could all be on the shorter side. But Giannis has missed several games so we have to see how he feels. These guys are a bit stoned.
Charlotte was also not close to her full strength.
The Hornets announced on Saturday that Gordon Hayward would miss at least a month with a sprained right foot. Rookie of the Year contestant LaMelo Ball hasn’t played since March 20 due to a broken right wrist. Malik Monk came out last week with a sprained right ankle.
“We always say it doesn’t matter who’s on the floor,” said Graham, who shot 6 of 12 for 3 points. “The expectations remain the same.”
Charlotte took the lead in earnest with a 3-point Bridges midway through the first quarter and led by no less than 21.
Jeff Teague scored 19 and Bryn Forbes added 18 for the Bucks, who had seven double-digit players.