Mental lapses cost Milwaukee in road loss

Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks got away with one. At least that’s how Scott Skiles felt. The Bucks didn’t show up on the defensive end, but were able to score and make one big play in the end to win.

Against Charlotte on Monday, it was more of the same. The result appeared as if it was going to be the same, too, as Milwaukee built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter by doing what has been a staple of its hot start, getting stops that lead to easy baskets.

That quickly stopped and Saturday’s Bucks showed up again, only this time their opponent capitalized. Making all 16 of their fourth quarter free throws and getting a huge 3-pointer from Ramon Sessions, the Bobcats rallied for a 102-98 victory, snapping the Bucks’ three-game win streak.

“Our whole approach tonight was not good,” Skiles said. “We had great difficulty just remembering plays. We were just mentally kind of out of it.

“We had several silly fouls. We just weren’t into the game tonight, for the most part. We got some stops and appeared to be kind of getting in the game and then that was gone very quickly.”

Charlotte made just four field goals in the fourth quarter, scoring just two points in the first four and a half minutes of the period. Then the fouls caught up with the Bucks.

In all, Charlotte shot 30 free throws and made 27. The Bucks attempted 45 shots in the paint but shot just 11 free throws. It was too much of a difference to overcome. As far as the lack of mental approach and lack of attention to detail?

“We are always concerned about it,” Skiles said. “Concerned when you win, concerned when you lose. Concerned about are you making progress, is it the same guys all the time, we’ll move on.”

While letting a double digit lead slip away is frustrating for the Bucks, the Bobcats continue to open eyes around the NBA. Charlotte won its fifth game Monday. That didn’t happen last season until their 36th game and now have over 71 percent of last year’s wins and it’s still November.

It’s evident that this is a totally different team. Kemba Walker is vastly improved and quickly becoming a star. Byron Mullins is realizing his potential and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is making an immediate impact. Who knows how the Bobacts will finish, but they certainly will give many teams trouble.

“The difference is because of last year,” Walker said. “No one wants to go through that experience again. We are just working hard every game, every day and trying to win as many games as possible.”

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