Brandon Knight’s summation of the fourth quarter was short and to the point:

“Gary did his job,” Milwaukee Bucks point guard Knight said of his former teammate.

In his first trip back to Milwaukee since the trade that sent him to the Charlotte Bobcats, Neal scored 18 points off just six shots from the field in a 101-92 victory. Ten points came in the decisive fourth quarter of a game that started out quite sloppily for the Bobcats.

They won their sixth game in the past seven, improving to 33-34. But other than the final result, there wasn’t much to feel good about off this game.

“It’s tough playing at noon, but that’s the NBA,” said Bobcats rookie Cody Zeller. “We just needed to play with more energy.”

No doubt. The Bobcats played the first half like they’d crawled out of bed at tip-off. They trailed by as much as nine and the signature defense they have played much of this season was hard to detect Sunday.

They trailed 50-46 after an uncharacteristic half by center Al Jefferson. The Bobcats’ go-to guy had four points in the first half, with Bucks center Zaza Pachulia doing a solid job of keeping Jefferson from his favorite spots on the floor.

Jefferson made some jump shots early in the third quarter that seemed to soften up the Bucks’ defense and finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.

But the real difference-maker was Neal, who was brought to Charlotte to make jump shots and create some spacing around Jefferson. The Bobcats gave up a valuable piece in that trade, sending backup point guard Ramon Sessions to Milwaukee.

Sessions sure looked motivated against his former team, scoring 18 points off 14 shots. But Neal was even better, in just the way coach Steve Clifford hoped when the deal was made last month.