What to Watch For: Bucks (15-16)
The Bucks get a quick rematch against the team that forced them into a 50-minute post-game, players-only team meeting Tuesday.
Sandwiched in the middle of this palindromic stretch of four games was a pair against the Hawks. Milwaukee hung a 30-point loss on Atlanta in the first game, then held them to their worst shooting night on the season in the second. Did the meeting work? Based on the efforts in the two games since — against one of the two best teams in the East — it would be hard to claim otherwise.
The Bucks will again be without Larry Sanders (illness), leaving Zaza Pachulia to bump with Al Jefferson down in the post. A big key for Milwaukee will be helping Zaza rebound. He is going to have his hands full on defense, and when he is boxing out Jefferson, the Bucks need to collapse and secure the ball after each Hornets miss. Ersan Ilyasova will be out too, leaving the Bucks short yet another rebounder.
What to Watch For: Hornets (10-21)
Outside of Kemba Walker, the other four projected Hornet starters have made a combined 13 three-point shots on the season. That does not seem like a plan for optimal floor spacing.
On the other hand, Kemba went nuclear on the Orlando Magic Saturday, scoring 35 of his career-high 42 points against the Magic in the second half. He can score from the outside in bunches, and he is coming into this game with a scorching hot hand.
A big part of this game will come down to the Bucks getting their defenders to the right places. They need to keep as many bodies as they possibly can near Walker and Jefferson at the expense of letting the other Hornets get up a few shots.
The Bucks are 0-2 against the Hornets this season — and those are two of the Bucks’ most bitter defeats in 31 games played this season. In addition to last week’s loss, they blew a 24-point, third-quarter lead in the season opener back in October.
Time – 6:00 p.m. CST TV – NBA TV Radio – 620 WTMJ
Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova (concussion; out); Larry Sanders (illness; out); Jabari Parker (left knee ACL tear; out); Damien Inglis (post-surgery — right ankle; out)
Hornets: Al Jefferson (groin injury; probable); Jannero Pargo (lower back soreness; out); Lance Stephenson (pelvic sprain; out)
Bucks: Kendall Marshall – Brandon Knight – Giannis Antetokounmpo – Johnny O’Bryant – Zaza Pachulia
Hornets: Kemba Walker – Gerald Henderson, Jr. – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Cody Zeller – Al Jefferson
Choose the Form of the Destructor: Cody Zeller
It seems like a trend lately that each opposing power forward lights up the Bucks for the first six minutes of games. If there’s a common denominator, let me know.