After an impressive outing by the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night in a 121-109 win in Brooklyn against the Nets, the Bucks head to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. The Hornets are led by last year’s Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. Ball is having an even better sophomore as the starting point guard for the Hornets averaging 19.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, and 7.8 assists per game. However, Ball is not the only Hornet having a career season as Miles Bridges is averaging a career-high 19.5 points, and is also a very good defender.
The Hornets are Impressing at a Very Young Age
Despite the Hornets only being one game over .500 at 20-19, they boast a top ten offensive rating along with a top ten defensive rating. Some advantages the Hornets will have going for them on Saturday night are that the Bucks will once again be coming into the game shorthanded (which didn’t seem to matter Friday) and will be very depleted. If the Hornets can take advantage of their open three-point shots and find a way to try and slow down reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, then this young Hornets team has a great chance to steal a win.
The Champs Keep Showing Why They Are the Champs
The Bucks are coming off one of their most impressive wins of this season so far. They beat Kevin Durant and the Nets by 12 points in Brooklyn on Friday night despite being shorthanded. Giannis continued his MVP campaign by going for 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. Teammate Khris Middleton chipped in another 20 points with 5 three-point makes. However, the biggest surprise of the night was the contribution by second-year Buck, Bobby Portis. Portis dominated the Nets on Friday with 25 points and 12 rebounds and was perfect from the free-throw line.
The Bucks have played some very close games with the Hornets over their past few matchups, yet more times than not the Bucks have come out on top. However, this Hornets team features more offensive firepower than it has had the past couple of years, and stand-in head coach Darvin Ham will have to be able to adjust on the defensive side of the ball to combat a very explosive offense. All the Bucks need to do is get Giannis Antetokounmpo going and Khris Middleton hitting more shots than not, and they will be very hard to contain. If Bobby Portis and Jordan Nwora can keep giving the Bucks great scoring and valuable minutes, then the Hornets should give the Bucks virtually no issue.
The Hornets in this game have only one player currently listed on their latest injury report and that is Vernon Carey Jr. He will miss Saturday’s game because he is in COVID-19 protocols.
Meanwhile, the Bucks will once again be without Brook Lopez (back surgery) and Donte DiVencenzo (ankle) for Saturday’s game. Not to mention they will be without Jrue Holiday, Pat Connaughton, George Hill, and Grayson Allen who are all in the health and safety protocol.
Starting Lineup Projections
The Hornets projected starting lineup:
Guards- LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier
Forwards- Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges
Center- Mason Plumlee
The Bucks projected starting lineup:
Guards- Wesley Matthews and Jordan Nwora
Forwards- Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton
Center- Bobby Portis
I believe that coming off a dominant win against the Nets, Giannis will continue his dominant play and will be too much for this young Hornets team to slow down. It will not be easy for the Bucks, but I believe the Bucks will once again get the victory against another fellow Eastern Conference opponent.
PREDICTION: Bucks 125, Hornets 113