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Hornets vs. Bucks Preview: Milwaukee returns home against Charlotte looking to snap streak

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Opening up a five-game homestand might just get the Milwaukee Bucks out of their losing funk. The Bucks — riding a four-game losing streak — welcome the Charlotte Hornets to town Saturday as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference aims to make another jump in the standings during the month of March.

Following Saturday's game, the stretch inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center continues as the Bucks prepare to face the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bucks update

With most of Wisconsin paying attention to another basketball team in the state (the Badgers), the Bucks didn't get much notice Friday evening, which might've been their best bet in Atlanta.

The Hawks were off from the 3-point line last night, shooting just 5-of-32 from deep, yet they managed to kill the Bucks in the one area they usually dominate at: the paint. In addition to pulling down 17 offensive rebounds, the Hawks outscored the Bucks 58-42 inside, even with bigs Al Horford and Paul Millsap each only scoring 14.

Jabari Parker started the night hot, scoring 10 of the Bucks' first 12 points, but as the game wore on, his level of efficiency dipped. When it was all said and done, Parker finished with 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds. The Hawks held his core teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo in check most of the night, with The Greek Freak only adding 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists. John Henson did his part off the bench with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three rejections.

In roster moves, the Bucks re-called rookie Rashad Vaughn from the D-League and waived Jared Cunningham. Vaughn is available to play tonight off the bench.

Injury report: Greivis Vasquez is doubtful for tonight's game vs. the Hornets.

Hornets update

The Hornets are playing some of their best basketball with the NBA regular season coming to a close.

Charlotte (41-31) has an 11-3 record in the month of March under head coach Steve Clifford, with those 11 wins being the most they've registered in a month all season. This month, they're scoring more points (109.4) while shooting the ball more efficiently (45.7), in addition to shortening their turnovers (10.7). All of those marks are season-highs.

Before the game, I asked Clifford what's been the biggest difference for his team of late compared to earlier in the season.

"Well one, we've played 10 home games," Clifford noted, "which has really helped us. The schedule is always a big part of it. Two, knock on wood, we've been healthy, that's always another part of it. And we're more balanced. Our offense has been pretty consistent throughout the year, but our defense has gone up and down and we've played better defensively this month also."

Even with their impressive play of late, the Hornets weren't hot enough to beat the surging Detroit Pistons last night in Auburn Hills. The Pistons won their fifth-straight game and took a two-game lead over the Bulls for the No. 8 seed in the conference.

Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 29 points as Charlotte struggled from the field and shot just 39.8 percent from the floor.

On the Hornets: At The HiveCharlotte Observer

15/16 NBA Season
Milwaukee bucks.vc6d60d4
(30-43, 21-14 home)
Charlotte hornets.ve3a6f32
(41-31, 14-20 road)
March 26, 2016
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
7:30 CT
Fox Sports Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Jerryd Bayless PG Kemba Walker
Khris Middleton SG Courtney Lee
Jabari Parker SF Nicolas Batum
Giannis Antetokounmpo PF Marvin Williams
Greg Monroe C Cody Zeller
2015/16 Advanced Stats
94.0 (24th)
Pace 95.8 (15th)
104.5 (23rd)
ORtg 106.5 (11th)
108.5 (23rd)
DRtg 104.4 (7th)