After several years of playing domestically, the Milwaukee Bucks have been granted the honor of heading overseas to entertain European audiences. Instead of London, this time they take on the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA’s first ever game in France.
Following their hiccup against the San Antonio Spurs, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to remain on cruise control against the entirety of the NBA. They dispatched Chicago quite handily on Monday, 111-98, before jetting off for France. In the interim, there’s been an odd amount of happenings to fill the three day gap. Giannis apparently missed the flight; wound up flying commercial, but made it over there with plenty of time to still show off his footie skills alongside his brother (their first sport love).
Giannis was also selected for the second straight year as an All-Star Captain with the right to select his own team come February 6. We will have to wait until the 30th to find out whether Khris Middleton will join his teammate in the All-Star contest. I look back fondly on that London game, my friends and I made fish and chips for it while slurping Guinnesses, so I’m a bit bummed tipoff aligns with the latter half of the workday. Hope you all have a light afternoon load in the office.
Robin Lopez is listed as out while Wesley Matthews is probable for this one.
Player to Watch: Dragan Bender
I’m going all Euro with this game’s players to watch and putting Bender in the spotlight for this one. Charlotte doesn’t have any imposing bigs on their roster, and they usually opt to go smaller with Zeller as their center. Even with his receding hairline, he’s still got enough pop that he should be a decent defensive test for Bender, who will also contend with Bismack Biyombo on the Hornets bench lineups. I’m more curious to see how he can stand up defensively within the Bucks system.
After a relatively hot start to the season, and outperforming their expected winning percentage, the Hornets have come back to Earth. Devonte Graham is still balling out, averaging 18.6 per game (including 38.6% on 9.4 3-point attempts per game) and they’ve got a solid-looking rookie in PJ Washington, but they have also dropped seven straight. Their latest was an ugly 106-83 loss to the Orlando Magic where they shot just 38.2% overall. They also must have some modicum of chip on their shoulder given the fact Milwaukee blew them out of the water 137-96 when last they met in November.
No major injuries or players out for the Hornets.
Player to Watch: Nicolas Batum
It’s not often that overseas players are able to show off in front of their home crowd. In fact, not often is overselling it. It basically never happens. So what a treat for Batum to get a chance to do so, even in a year where he’s been relegated to a smaller role on the bench. He’s only appeared in 21 games this year, and his averages are down to a paltry 3.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Here’s hoping he has a proper showing in front of his fellow Frenchmen.
Game 46: Against Charlotte, the Bucks will...
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