The Milwaukee Bucks jumped out to a big lead in the first half, then went cold in the second half but managed to pull out a 113-112 win over the Charlotte Hornets in the regular season opener in Charlotte.
The Bucks led by as many as 20 points, but things got sloppy in the second half. They turned it over 21 times, eight of them by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who found himself dealing with foul trouble in the opener.
After the Bucks coughed up the lead, Antetokounmpo made a pair of free throws with 24.5 seconds to retake the lead.
The Hornets had a shot at the win, but Kemba Walker missed a contested layup and Nic Batum’s three-point attempt at the buzzer failed, giving the Bucks the win.
Walker single-handedly kept the Hornets within striking distance in the second half, finishing with 41 points, 24 of those in the final two quarters.
Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists to lead six Bucks in double figures.
The Bucks made 11 three pointers in the first half but cooled off considerably, hitting just three more in the second half. They shot 41% from distance for the game (14-34).
Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and nine rebounds in his return to the Bucks. First round draft pick Donte DiVincenzo debuted with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting.
The Bucks are back home to host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night in their home opener at Fiserv Forum.