Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks Preview
In a possible first round playoff matchup, the Milwaukee Bucks host the Charlotte Hornets tonight as the Bucks look to win the regular season series.
If the Hornets hope to be in position to play the Bucks in the first round, they’ve got some work to do. They recently slid from 8th to 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-35 record and are one game away from the Miami Heat for that final playoff spot. The Hornets are 3-7 in their last 10 games and won their last game. The Bucks are 49-16 on the season and have a 2.5 game lead over the Toronto Raptors. They are 8-2 in their last 10 and won their most recent game, snapping a two-game losing streak.
The Bucks are 2-1 against the Hornets this season and will look to close out with a 3-1 record tonight. In their last matchup on January 25, the Bucks won 108-99 are were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds. Nic Batum led the Hornets with 19 points in a losing effort.
Time: 9:00pm ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Channel: FSSE-CHA, FSWIS
Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup
After losing five of their last six games, the Charlotte Hornets slid down the standings, but they got a much-needed win, albeit a tough one against the Washington Wizards.
Marvin Williams scored a season-high 30 points and the Hornets edged out the Wizards 112-111.
“To get a close win like this is big for our group,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said following the game. “They stuck with it, they kept battling. We were up, we were down. It was close there and we made plays down the stretch especially on the defensive end.”
The Hornets had a big defensive stop late in the game as Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed what could have been a game-winning drive.
Aside from Williams, All-Star point guard Kemba Walker finished the game with 18 points, six assists and four rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Jeremy Lamb and Dwayne Bacon had 19 points and 10 points off the bench. Rookie Miles Bridges has had an up and down rookie season, but it’s been mostly down lately. He struggled offensively against the Wizards, going 1-for-8 from the field and 1-for-3 from beyond the arc for three points on Friday.
The defense will have to take another step up as they battle the Bucks tonight, and they’ll likely need more help on offense.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
The Bucks have closed out several of their regular season series against some of the higher-caliber Eastern Conference opponents recently, and they’ll look to close out another series tonight against the Hornets.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he hopes the experience that they’ve gained playing well against some of the top teams will pay off in the postseason.
“I think we always talk about the experiences from the regular season,” he said. “You can draw on them and reference back and hopefully we’re building the right habits so that when we play any and all of those teams, if it happens in the playoffs, you’re prepared for it, you feel confident and ready to go.”
The Bucks snapped their two-game skid against the Jazz and the Suns on the road by getting a big win over the third-place Indiana Pacers 117-98 as they returned home. Khris Middleton bounced back from a tough game and had 27 points. Giannis led the Bucks with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists.
With rookie Donte DiVincenzo back and after adding Pau Gasol to the roster, the Bucks are looking like one of the deepest teams as they finish out the regular season.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets Betting Odds
The Bucks are heavy favorites at -12 on the spread for tonight. The over/under is 227 points and the Bucks are -800 on the moneyline.
Milwaukee is among the league’s best at home at 26-5. They are also 42-13 as the favorite. Charlotte is 9-1 on the road and 8-22 as the underdog.