It seems like only a month and a half ago the Milwaukee Bucks were opening their new season against the Charlotte Hornets, and indeed it was when Bud’s team narrowly eked out a 113-112 victory. They get another chance to swat down Charlotte tonight in Buzz City.
After enjoying a lengthy six-game home stand, Milwaukee finally makes its way on the road again tonight. Their 4-2 stretch featured some dominating wins (Portland, Chicago) and a disappointing drop (Phoenix), but all-in-all you have to be encouraged considering they squared off against a number of Western Conference quality opponents. Their formula continues to bear fruit, bludgeoning teams with 3-pointers and Giannis down low, while letting opponents bask in the midrange like a lazy river. Their last matchup with Charlotte featured the Kemba Walker show, so we’ll see if they have an antidote ready.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
After drawing an excessive amount of fouls against a typically foul-averse team, the San Antonio Spurs, Giannis looks primed to dominate the paint again versus a Charlotte team bereft of rim protection. Cody Zeller, just back away man. Giannis’ 20 attempts from the foul line against the Spurs were the most he’s had all year, so expect him to assault the rim early and often.
It’s been an up-and-down season thus far under new coach James Borrego. The last four games are a fine example, with narrow losses to Atlanta and Oklahoma City preceded by wins over Boston and Indiana. They’ve catapulted up the ranks in terms of offensive rating, with an average defensive rating, but as is Charlotte custom, he hasn’t been able to correct their amazing ability to underperform their expected winning percentage. They’re currently sitting at a -3.4 win differential on the year, per Cleaning the Glass, worst in the league. They’ve ranked 29th the last two years as well. Somehow, they have a spectacular ability to blow games they could win. If Borrego somehow finds a malady for that, it could do wonders for their wins this year. On the injury front, they’re out Tony Parker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is listed as questionable.
Player to Watch: Kemba Walker
Who else could it be at this point? The guy’s casually been going off for 60 of late. He’s averaging a career-high 29.1 points per-36 to go along with 10.3 3-point attempts where he’s hitting 38.6%. He went off for 41 against Milwaukee, nailing some difficult threes among his 13 attempts from deep. Eric Bledsoe should come armed for a defensive scrap from the beginning.
Game 20: Against the Hornets, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
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