The 15-6 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 7-15 Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte early Saturday night. (5pm Tip-off CST) It is a real quick turnaround and as of press time, we are still not sure if the Bucks will be at full strength. Other media members have labeled the Bucks loss to LA as an “instant classic”. In this space we often talk about the ups and downs in the NBA regular season. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Vegas has the Bucks at an 68% chance to win the game and 6 point favorites. Because of the quick turnaround and the nature of the NBA “back-to-back” I might keep my cash in my pocket for this one. Because both teams are on a “back-to-backs”, look at the “under” closely.
The keys for the Bucks will be to defend the three (43% defensive team shooting percentage last night against LA) and play better defense. The Bucks will need increased production from Jordan Nwora, Pat Connaughton, and Wesley Matthews. Jevon Carter seemed to be out of sorts with the return of Khris Middleton. He needs to play better. The Bucks depth is an advantage here.
The schedule makers continue to be kind to Milwaukee. Charlotte is also on a back-to-back, albeit they did play at home and do not need to travel. They had a tough game against Washington, winning 117-116. If Charlotte has either one of their point guards available- LaMelo Ball or Dennis Smith Jr.- that would certainly help them.
The Opponent: The Charlotte
Ever been to Charlotte? It’s a cool city with plenty of Milwaukee vibes.
Unlike the “city vibes”, the Hornets franchise feels like the upside down version of the Bucks. They have a rocky past that has led to simply too much turnover. Just in re-checking out the “Charlotte Observer” Kelly Obure seems to be carrying the ship. The investments they have made have not been in length, like the Bucks, but in guard play. Speed over power. (I’ll take Brook and Bobby.)
Just like last night’s opponent for the Bucks, what is wrong with Charlotte? They have not had a good start to the season. Injuries to LaMelo and Gordon Hayward have affected them. Mason Plumlee has been their anchor in the middle. Terry Rozier (a villain for Bucks fans when he played for the Celtics) is having a strong season, The Hornets only average 108 points a game while giving up 115. That is not going to win many games. Milwaukee only averages 112 points a game but only gives up 106.
Charlotte has the second worst team field goal percentage; they average more than three shots per game than their opponents. Basically, they shoot and miss: a lot!
The Hornets are not in rebuild mode, yet. Yet..
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets. They were once owned by George Shinn and began in 1988.
- They used to be the Charlotte Bobcats. Shinn moved the team to New Orleans. Then the NBA put another team back in Charlotte in 2004. (The Bobcats). Finally in 2015 it seemed to be agreed upon that Charlotte would be the Hornets and New Orleans would be the Pelicans.
- The Bucks lead the all-time series 63-59.
- It is hard to not think about the Charlotte Hornets and not reflect on the career of Muggsy Bogues. He is still alive and well (57 yrs old). An internet search returned that he is the head coach at United Faith Christian Academy. He, and the school, are located in the Charlotte area. What a cool story!
- Enjoy the ride. In March, if you remember this Lakers game, you have a better memory than most. That was the best “punch” the LA Lakers had. It’ll be interesting to see if Charlotte has that “punch” in them.
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