When: 7PM EST
Where: Charlotte, NC. Time Warner Cable Arena
How to Watch: NBA League Pass, Fox Sports South, NBA TV
Injuries and Inactives: Lance Stephenson (still most likely out), Jeffery Taylor and Noah Vonleh (D-League assignments), Jabari Parker (season ending injury)
It has been exactly two months since "The Comeback", the game in which the Hornets stormed back from down 24 points to win against the Milwaukee Bucks on opening night. Every fan will have their own story from that night, including where they were and what moment stood out the most. It was a win that will be remembered with the other franchise greats.
Since that night, things haven't been as great for the Hornets who currently are 10-21 and four games out of the playoffs in a truly dreadful Eastern conference. However, the Hornets are 2-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks this year, including a nice win just last week.
In that game, Charlotte played some of its best defense of the season (although they ultimately allowed 101 points). The Bucks struggled all game in the half-court and were only really able to generate open looks in transition (25 fastbreak points to 2 in favor of Milwaukee). Although, Kemba Walker just put up a career high, this game against Milwaukee may have been his best of the season. The Hornets appeared prepared for Milwaukee's aggressive trapping defense and Walker made them pay by making smart decisions all night. Despite the season-high 34 points for Brandon Knight, Walker was also great defensively. By keeping Knight out of the paint, he forced Knight into a jump-shots and nullified any chance of Knight creating for others.
Keys to tonight's game
- How Charlotte defends the point guard/center pick-and-roll. In the first game between these two teams, the Bucks exploited Charlotte's pick-and-roll coverage all night long. Need proof? Just see Brandon Knight's 13 assists from that game. In the second game, Charlotte (and mainly Walker) did a much better job keeping Knight out of the paint. However, if Milwaukee's coach Jason Kidd has gotten his hands on the tape from Charlotte's game against the Orlando Magic, there may be a few new wrinkles added to the Bucks gameplan. The Magic exploited Walker and Al Jefferson by starting the screen with a running start for the guard and it lead to countless trips to the rim for Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton.
- The play of the wings. Keeping O.J. Mayo, Kris Middleton, Jared Dudley, and Giannis Antetokounmpo contained is just as important as getting Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Gary Neal going. If either team can get quality and efficient production from their wings it makes it difficult to hone in on their respective point guards, both of which are capable of dropping 30 points.