Hornets Going for Homestand Sweep Against Visiting Bucks

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (30-30) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (37-23)
  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 127-119 on April 9, 2021 in Milwaukee, WI

Small-Ball Starting Lineup Sparking Hornets on Homestand

After weeks of tinkering, the Hornets might have finally found something with their starting lineup in the wake of injuries to LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Malik Monk. Coach Borrego rolled with an all-small opening five of Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Cody Martin, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington for the second straight game on Sunday afternoon, sparking a dominant 125-104 home win over the Celtics. Charlotte shot 51% and 49% from three with four starters scoring 20+ points, leading to the team’s best offensive output in weeks and hopefully signaling a sign of things to come in the point-scoring department.

Look for A Full-Strength Milwaukee Squad This Time Around

Charlotte got a bit of good luck in Milwaukee earlier this month when the Bucks sat two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of their starters in the second night of a back-to-back coming off a six-game road trip. The Hornets rolled to a 127-119 victory with their entire first unit all scoring 18+ points, and since then, Milwaukee has gone 5-3 and ranks third in the NBA in offensive rating (117.4), fifth in defensive rating (106.20) and first in net rating (11.3). Antetokounmpo has expectedly looked exceptional during this span, posting averages of 26.3 points on 59% shooting, 11.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals in six outings.

Getting Off to Another Fast Start Will Be Key for Charlotte

The Hornets jumped out quickly in their most recent outing two days ago, pushing the tempo early and often and setting the tone with physical play against Boston. They’ll need to replicate that same intensity against a Bucks squad that ranks third in the NBA in net rating (10.1), points (30.4) and three-point field goals (4.2) in the opening frame. Having averaged just under 31 points across each of its last six quarters of play, Charlotte’s offense is finally starting to click and will need to keep playing aggressively against the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 squad.

Preview Quote

“I think for us more than anything offensively is just keeping the pace. It’s nothing more, nothing less, make or miss, we have to play with great pace. That’s ball movement, that’s body movement, that’s getting the ball out early and really keeping a next-play mentality. Our guys are trying to do the right thing and I think in the Cleveland game [on Friday], we said let’s get back to playing with more pace and I think we’ve done that for the most part.” – Coach Borrego following practice on Monday afternoon

Final Thoughts

Coach Borrego also called Sunday’s win over the Celtics the team’s most complete game of the season, which is hard to argue given the balanced contributions from across the rotation amidst the ongoing injury circumstances. Tonight’s matchup with the Bucks will be another challenging one for the Hornets and they’ll need another supreme effort on both sides of the floor in order to pick up a third consecutive victory to open up their back-to-back set.

Additional Notes

F PJ Tucker (left ankle soreness) and F Rodions Kurucs (right biceps contusion) did not play for Milwaukee on Sunday night in Atlanta… Charlotte is looking for its first three-game winning streak against the Bucks since Feb. 19 – Oct. 26, 2016 and first season-series sweep of their Central Division foe since 2013-14 (won all four meetings with Milwaukee this year)… The Hornets are also targeting their first overall three-game winning streak since March 22-26.

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