When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets are riding high after consecutive wins over teams that were sitting at the top of their respective conference’s standings. The next opponent is the 4-3 Milwaukee Bucks, who defeated the Hornets 103-94 in Milwaukee earlier this month.
Despite the loss, there were many positive takeaways from that game. The Hornets had the game tied at 94 with just three minutes to go, but the shots stopped falling and the Bucks were able to pull away for the win. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, and Johnny O’Bryant III all put in solid performances, each scoring at least 14 points while Dwight Howard pulled in 22 rebounds and blocked 4 shots, reaffirming the fact that he his an interior force, even at age 31.
However, the Hornets weren’t able to overcome the human buzz saw we call Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak finished the game with 34 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, amazingly right in line with his season averages. He was aided by strong performances by Khris Middleton (20 points), Tony Snell (12 points), and Mirza Teletovic (15 points, 5-for-9 from 3).
This isn’t the same Hornets team that took that loss to the Bucks just nine days ago. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller have both returned from their absences and are back to receiving their full allotment of minutes. MKG will be given the unenviable task of slowing down Giannis, but he appears to be up to the task. The Kentucky product was put on Mike Conley in the Grizzlies game, and it resulted in the star point guard making just 4 of his 18 shot attempts.
It’s a winnable game for the Hornets. The Bucks are on the second night of a back to back and were just drubbed by the Thunder in Milwaukee. They’ll be without backup center Greg Monroe, who has been ruled out for the next two weeks with a calf injury. If the Hornets can limit the Bucks supporting cast and get a win, it will build some much needed momentum heading into a tough four game road trip.