With the playoffs no longer in doubt, the only thing left to sort out is who exactly Milwaukee will be facing. In their final home game of the season, they take on the same team they faced in their first home game of the season, Charlotte, who are preparing for a late spot on the lottery dais.
It wasn't pretty, but the Bucks pulled away in the second half against a beleaguered Sixers squad. Giannis looked pedestrian, unsurprising given he was playing through the stomach flu, but still put up 20 points, ten rebounds and six assists. Another rough outing by Middleton (eight points, eight rebounds on 3-11 shooting) didn’t stop the Bucks from clinching their playoff spot though.
Milwaukee continues to jockey for playoff position, and Atlanta’s surprising win over the Cavaliers yesterday gave them a firmer hold on the five seed. If Milwaukee hopes to keep pace, they need to beat a Charlotte team they defeated just a few weeks ago. That 118-108 win in Charlotte featured a career night from Tony Snell with 26 points. Unfortunately, that flashpoint seems to have dimmed Snell’s bulb since then. In the six games since he's shooting just 32% from deep.
Jason Kidd said before the Philadelphia game that tonight could see the return of Malcolm Brogdon and John Henson to the lineup. How Kidd works Brogdon back in seems pretty clear given Gary Payton II’s extended minutes lately, but how Henson fits in will just be a continuation of the confusing center rotation that's plagued the team all year. For what it's worth, Brogdon is still listed as TBD on the injury report while Henson is noted as out.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd says Brogdon and Henson went through contact drills last 2 days and should be ready Monday vs. Hornets.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) April 8, 2017
Still, the playoffs were this team's preseason goal, and in that case its mission accomplished and scoreboard watching time. H/t to All the Bucks for keeping diligent track of the scenarios.
Charlotte’s dispiriting follow-up to their successful 15-16 campaign has to be frustrating not only because it featured Kemba Walker’s finest overall season, but also because they still have a positive net rating for the season.
They have dropped their last three games, including a 121-114 loss against Boston last Saturday. Charlotte’s top ten defense last year hasn’t been nearly as stingy, and they'll end the year rated around the middle of the pack in terms of defensive efficiency.
With the playoffs out of the picture, their fortunes turn to the slim hope of the bottom half of the lottery. Currently they're slotted in the 11th spot, although with what's supposed to be a deep draft, Charlotte could have a chance to add a much needed long term impact player. Or they could draft a college senior instead of trading for several first round picks. Whatever works.
Charlotte doesn't have anyone listed on their injury report.
This will also be the second to last ever final regular season game in the BMO before they move to their new digs for the 2018-19 season. Shed some tears, but be thankful this won't be the last game there this season.