Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
The Hornets are on the road again, and come face-to-face with Giannis Antetokounmpo, arguably the hottest player in the NBA. If you haven’t been paying attention, here are Giannis’ game logs through three games:
10/18 @ Boston: 37 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals
10/20 v Cleveland: 34 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals
10/21 v Portland: 44 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals
This was already going to be a matchup problem, but to make matters worse the Hornets will be without both backup point guards — Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone — along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (not ready to play, but back with the team) and Cody Zeller.
This means at least two things: Malik Monk is in for a long night at backup point, and Marcus Paige better be on a plane to Milwaukee. Oh, and Walker might play 40 minutes.
The Bucks have length, and run fairly deep. Aside from Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon is off to a strong start, averaging 16 points a game, while Khris Middleton is averaging 13.7 points and six rebounds. Those three, along with Tony Snell, play well over 30 minutes a night, while seven other players are averaging over 10 minutes a game. With guys like Greg Monroe, John Henson, and Thon Maker, they have a lot of size and options in the front court.
I want to believe Charlotte has a chance tonight, but that might be asking a lot. At full streak this would be a different story, but given the inconsistency of the second unit I fear what could happen when the starters come out.
That said, the turnover on Friday was remarkable. Capped off by a 24-0 run, something ignited the Hornets to take care of the ball and organize themselves. Walker and Howard played major roles, but the turnover from Frank Kaminsky can’t go unmentioned. His night didn’t start well, but finishing with 21 points on 7-14 shooting is more along the lines of what we’d hope for him more often. However, it’s important that he follows this performance with at least another solid one — going from 21 points to say, five, is just more of the same. Hopefully the Wisconsin air inspires him.
Along with getting big performances from key players, Charlotte has to take of the ball. Despite the win, they finished with 21 turnovers. That can’t continue.
With better control of the ball, and a little luck, Charlotte could escape with a win. But given the circumstances, we shouldn’t keep our expectations high.