Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets are in Milwaukee tonight as they take on the Bucks. It marks the first of a home-and-home series for the two teams (and the last times they will matchup this season) before Charlotte gets a few days off over the Christmas holiday.
They could use a break.
The Hornets are searching for answers following a 129-111 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. Aside from a career high 32 points from Jeremy Lamb, it was an uninspired performance. Nicolas Batum, after appearing to be turning a corner based on two solid performances previously, finished with zero points and attempted just one shot.
The Bucks are feeling good after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. It snapped a three game losing streak, and given Charlotte’s current condition, Milwaukee will hope to get all three of those losses back. They sit 5th in the Eastern Conference, but so far are middle of the league in both points scored and allowed per game. They also rank dead last in rebounds per game. This could be an area the Hornets exploit.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be their leader. Averaging 29.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, he is every bit of a superstar at this point, and will be a handful. But limiting him could give the Hornets a chance. The two teams are 1-1 against each other this season. In Milwaukee’s win back in October, Antetokounmpo finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. In the loss on November 1st? 14 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. Limiting him isn’t a simple task, though.
Aside from Giannis, Khris Middleton is having a nice season, averaging 20.2 points per game and shooting 46.7 percent from the field. Eric Bledsoe, acquired in a trade earlier this season, is averaging 17.9 points per game, to go with 4.1 assists. This will be the first time Charlotte faces off against Bledsoe in Milwaukee.
Slowing down Milwaukee’s key players is important, but really, the Hornets need to be more concerned with figuring themselves out at this point. Steve Clifford called this team the most talented he’s had in his tenure in Charlotte, and yet the Hornets are off to their worst start under him. Sure, injuries and Clifford’s absence have not helped, but the roster doesn’t seem to fit together, and there have been nights (like on Wednesday) where the team has looked outmatched. What’s that saying, “Take care of yourself before you take care of others?” Yeah, the Hornets need to do that. If there’s a good team somewhere among this roster, it would be nice to see it show up more than occasionally.
- Jabari Parker is out tonight, but is coming closer to a return. He had a short G-League assignment, and hopes to be back with the Bucks by February.
- No new updates as of 10 am EST.
- Treveon Graham missed last game, and there has been no update on his status.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist strained his shoulder on Wednesday, but as of now I’d assume he’s playing tonight.