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HORNETS VS. KNICKS

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TOMORROW AT 7:00 PM

Hornets “Hosting” Milwaukee Bucks at NBA Global Games in Paris

by Sam Perley

The Charlotte Hornets are going global and looking to snap a seven-game slide against a staunch Milwaukee Bucks squad starting this afternoon at 3 PM EST at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France.

Today’s outing marks the first time the organization has ever played a regular season game outside of North America and fourth time overall counting preseason contests in Paris (1994), Shenzhen, China (2015) and Shanghai, China (2015). While the game itself is undoubtedly the primary focus of the trip, the experience of traveling overseas to play shouldn’t be taken for granted says Hornets Head Coach James Borrego.

“A lot of times these games are exhibition or preseason games, but to have a real-live regular season game is special for all of us, the players, the fans, the country, Europe,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “It shows where the game is at globally and how popular this game has grown. [Former late NBA Commissioner] David Stern and many people around him helped build this to where it’s at today. We honor that, want to play the right way and put on a show for the fans.”

This will be the second of three meetings this season with the Bucks and technically a “home game” for the Hornets. Milwaukee dominated round one at the Fiserv Forum, 137-96, back on Nov. 30, getting 26 points in 20 minutes from reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and eight other double-figure scoring performances. Devonte’ Graham led Charlotte with 24 points and five assists in what remains the team’s most lopsided loss of the season thus far.

Milwaukee enters this one with an NBA-leading 39-6 record, which is fueled by the second-best offensive rating (113.3) and best defensive rating (101.2). Antetokounmpo, who will surely have plenty of European fans in attendance, is second in the NBA in scoring (30.0 PPG) and fifth in rebounding (12.9) and Khris Middleton is averaging 23.5 PPG on a fiery 67.1% shooting (68.2% from three), 5.7 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.3 SPG over his last six appearances.

The Bucks are currently riding a seven-game winning streak, the longest in the NBA at the moment. Milwaukee allows a league-low 38.3 paint points per game (3.8 fewer than any other team) and in its six losses, has surrendered an average of 17.3 three-pointers on 43.0% shooting. The Hornets need to be aggressive from behind the arc in this one and if they’re able to see some shots fall early, it should help open some lanes up more down low.

Game Notes: C Robin Lopez (undisclosed) did not travel with the Bucks to Paris… The Hornets have played in Paris once before, facing the Golden State Warriors in a preseason game back in October of 1994… This will be the second time the Bucks have played a regular season game outside of North America (beat New York, 95-79, in London on Jan. 15, 2015).

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