At long last, the Bucks return home. Following a six-game road trip out west that resulted in a record of 3-3, the Charlotte Hornets come to town Friday. What may Milwaukee need to do to get a win in front of their hometown faithful? Let’s take a look, as this is your Bucks Preview!
Matchup: Hornets (26-24, 4th in East) @ Bucks (32-19, 3rd in East)
Location: Fiserv Forum
Time: 8:00 PM on Bally Sports Wisconsin
#1: Make Terry Not So Scary
It is no secret that the Bucks have had their fair share of trouble with Terry Rozier. He made his presence known during the Bucks/Celtics series in 2018. That year, he outclassed Eric Bledsoe during the seven-game Boston win, averaging 17.6p/4.3r/6.7a per game. However, Milwaukee responded in kind the next year, neutralizing Rozier (5.8/5.0/1.2) along with the rest of the Celtics on the way to a five-game W.
Now, what does that have to do with the here and now? Well, it is pretty simple. Terry Rozier is having a career renaissance in Charlotte, averaging 19 points along with around four rebounds and four assists per game over the last season and change. As such, particularly with the absence of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier may be the Hornets’ biggest threat.
However, that does not mean he is alone by any means. Gordon Hayward, who has missed the last two games (16.1 PPG) and his backcourt mate Devonte’ Graham (16.0) have been putting up solid numbers in Ball’s absence. In short, shut down Rozier and you can shut down a lot of this Charlotte offense.
#2: Return of the Freak?
Of course, one of the top reasons that fans file through the Fiserv Forum turnstiles is to catch Giannis in action. The question is, will he grace the court on Friday night? Having missed the Bucks’ last three games with knee soreness, this development will have many eyes on it.
In addition, if he does take the court, what can fans look for? If his past against Charlotte is anything to compare to, pretty typical excellence, as Giannis has averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game against this opponent in his career. His most dominant, though, came in a 41/20/6 performance on March 1st of 2020 in a 93-85 Bucks win.
In the event that the back-to-back MVP does have to sit this contest out, the Bucks will be hoping to rely on their other stars to deliver them a win in their return home. Stars such as…
#3 Make It A Holiday
Man, if Jrue Holiday hasn’t just been a revelation for this Milwaukee team. For the price the Bucks paid to acquire his services, much was expected of the UCLA alum, and he has delivered. In short, Holiday is putting up the best season by a Bucks point guard in some time (17.3/4.5/5.4/1.8s). He has also put the team on his back on multiple occasions, particularly during this West Coast trip.
Prior to signing his extension this past Sunday, Holiday averaged 27.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, nine assists and over two steals a night in three straight Bucks wins. Holiday has turned it up when the Bucks have needed him the most, helping them keep pace with the 76ers and Nets at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks have paid up twice for Jrue Holiday, an investment that has so far paid off.
Sign-Off and Prediction
Well, there you have it! Your Bucks Preview for tonight is done and dusted, and this should be an interesting one. With offensive firepower on both sides, it could well be a high-scoring affair, particularly if Giannis can find his way back to the hardwood. That will reflect itself in my final score prediction, but let us know how you think things will go tonight!
Final prediction: Bucks 122 – Hornets 112
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