While everybody will be watching the Green Bay Packers’ playoff game tonight against the Cardinals, another Wisconsin sports team will be matching up in Charlotte and not against the Panthers. The Bucks meet the Hornets on their court for the second time this season but are looking for a different result.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the main storyline to the Bucks’ overtime victory over Atlanta last night, formulating an impressive double double with 28 points and 16 rebounds, arguably his best performance of the season. Watch for his strong play and momentum to carry over in tonight’s game.
As for the Hornets, they are coming off a loss to the hands of the Pelicans, leaving them only one game ahead of Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference standings. A win tonight would jump the Bucks over them.
It seems as if every time the two teams meet, Kemba Walker usually has a strong performance. He hit the game winner against Milwaukee last season and he put up 22 points in Charlotte’s come-from-behind victory this past Thanksgiving weekend. Michael Carter-Williams will need to bring out one of his strong lockdown defensive games, as the Bucks cannot afford Kemba to get hot.
The Bucks were also killed by the difference in free throws in the last matchup with Charlotte. However, they were able to limit the number of free throws last night against Atlanta, as the Hawks only reached the charity stripe six times. In fact, the Bucks went to the free throw line a very impressive 37 amount of times. The only problem was that they only hit a little over 67 percent from there. Nonetheless, getting to the free throw line that many times against a playoff team is something to be proud of.
Right now, the Bucks are at a spot where if they get a run going, they could possibly qualify for the eighth seed. They are only five games behind Boston, and with a run, who knows what could happen. However, the key to this team is development. Whether they make a play for the eighth seed or fall like a lead balloon in the second half of the season, development of the players, especially Giannis and Jabari, remain the number one concern and priority.