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Preview: Hornets hope to make it three in a row, take on fully healthy Bucks squad

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Charlotte beat up on the Bucks’ bench warmers in their last meeting, but now the starters are back and ready to play for real

Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Hornets are coming off of a huge win against the Celtics, 125-104. They hope to extend their winning streak to three as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight.

HOW TO WATCH

Matchup: Milwaukee Bucks (37-23) @ Charlotte Hornets (30-30)

Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Time: 7:00 p.m. (EST)

Channel(s): Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

PLAYER STATS

The Bucks are led by two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is averaging 28.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 6.0 assists on the year. His supporting cast is primarily made up of Khris Middleton (20.1) and Jrue Holiday (17.2), who are both having solid seasons as well. Brook Lopez (11.6), Bobby Portis (11.5), and Donte Divincenzo (10.3) round out Milwaukee’s six players averaging double-digit points.

For the Hornets, four guys have been doing most of the heavy lifting lately. In the last ten games, Terry Rozier (22.1), Miles Bridges (20.7), PJ Washington (17.7), and Devonte’ Graham (15.9) have been blowing up the scoring column. In the win against Boston, they became the first Hornets foursome since March of 2018 to all score 20+ in the same game.

RECENT GAMES

Milwaukee has been going through a rough patch lately. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and have gone 8-8 since the trade deadline on March 25. The Bucks are currently 37-23 on the year and sit at third place in the Eastern Conference.

The Hornets have strung together two wins in a row and are 4-6 in their last ten games despite injury problems. They are 30-30 on the season which is good for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They hold a one-game lead over the ninth-seeded Pacers and are only one game back of the seventh-seeded Heat.

INJURIES

PJ Tucker and Rodions Kurucs are the only players on Milwaukee’s injury report. They are both listed as day-to-day.

Meanwhile, the Hornets injury report looks identical. Gordon Hayward, Malik Monk, LaMelo Ball, and Nate Darling are all out. Ball has made significant progress in recent weeks and should be available to return relatively soon.

KEYS TO THE GAME

These two teams faced off not too long ago. The Hornets got the win, but the Bucks were resting most of their marquee players. With Antetokuonmpo, Middleton, and Holiday all available, the Hornets are going to have to key in on defense as they did against Boston.

Charlotte is coming off one of the best passing games of the season. They recorded 39 assists vs Boston, which is the third-most by a team in a game this year. The Hornets have been one of the best passing teams all season and it has led to a ton of success. With the Bucks being such a good defense, moving the ball will be all the more important.

Lastly, Antetokounmpo is an absolute freak of nature. Although it will be impossible to stop him, slowing him down has to be priority number one. PJ Washington has been playing a lot of center minutes, but this might be a job for Bismack Biyombo or Cody Zeller. They might not be the best defenders in the world, but throwing as much size as possible at Antetokounmpo should help a little bit.

Editor’s note: This is going to double as the open thread tonight.