What: Charlotte Hornets (9-10) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (14-5)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Bucks first match-up against the Hornets this season was a heavily contested contest throughout. The Hornets had their offense flowing under point guard Kemba Walker, who put up a monstrous 41 points. It came down to the final basket, where forward Nicolas Batum air balled the game-winning shot as time expired. Although that game occurred over two months ago, there should be a sense of retribution coming from the Hornets into this one. The Bucks spoiled their homecoming, and they should pay for that.
Speaking of the Bucks, no one team in the association has turned things around quite like them this season. With former NBA vet Jason Kidd manning the head coaching position for four years, it was clear that things were just not working out. The talent was there, but the schematics weren’t used to the full effect. The team was never able to make the next step past the first round with the players they had.
Luckily the Bucks didn’t have to look far in order to change that narrative. Mike Budenhozler has been a pioneer in the modern NBA as he crafted the Atlanta Hawks into a high-flowing offensive machine while putting a big emphasis on the three-point shot. This was during a time that the NBA wasn’t focused on the three as much as it is today.
Budenhozler has made significant strides in putting this team in possession of new heights. Headlined by superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team has a plethora of capable scorers who can not only be lethal from the three-point line but also play stellar defense on the other end. Three in particular that come to mind are Khris Middleton, Tony Snell, and Malcolm Brogdon, each of whom has made jumps since the start of this year. The Bucks as a whole have been rolling so far, earning the highest points per game in the league at 121.7. On the defensive end, they have also shown to have success early on as they are currently sixth in the league in defensive rating.
For the Hornets, this will be their toughest match-up to date. Playing against the now second seed in the eastern conference will be a difficult task to overcome. They would need to get the same production off the bench as they did in yesterday’s game against the Hawks in order to have a relative scoring output through four quarters. It can’t and shouldn’t be all about Kemba Walker in this one, as he will most likely be matched up with either Giannis or Middleton through the course of the game.
This is a drastically different Bucks team than the year before. Looking like a legitimate contender in the east, the Bucks have caught on to the ever changing approach in NBA offenses and have done a successful job at being a presence on both ends of the floor.
It will be a challenging task, and this game should give us a clearer picture of what direction this up and down Hornets team is this season.