The Charlotte Hornets look to extend winning streak and separate themselves above the Chicago Bulls in playoff picture with big road game.
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
When: 8 p.m. EST
How: FOX Sports Southeast, WFNZ 610 AM
The break is over and it is back to work for the Hornets.
The team is in the stretch run, barreling toward a playoff berth. However, Charlotte is going to have to earn everything during the upcoming stretch of road games.
The Hornets have proven to be stronger team this season, despite missing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Al Jefferson for large stretches. However, Charlotte will have to come out strong against the Bucks who have made the most of their home court, winning six of their last seven at home.
Meanwhile, the Hornets need to show that they can win on the road. This game against Milwaukee is the first of five consecutive on the road. This stretch of games will set the tone for the rest of the season and the march toward the playoffs.
Perhaps the best news – other than a win – is that Big Al has been cleared to play, barring setback, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Other good news: a win for the Hornets pushes the team clear of the Chicago Bulls, losers on Thursday night, who are now even on win-loss record.
The team will have to wait another game to debut new acquisition Courtney Lee due to a delayed physical. No, he isn’t injured which is what some Twitter commenters assumed, loudly announcing that being a fan doesn’t mean you know anything about other players in the NBA. The could also be missing Marvin Williams, listed as questionable.
The Bucks are similar to the Hornets in that they are much stronger at home than on the road. The season series between the two teams in knotted at one win a piece. Neutralizing the threat of Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe can be a chore on any given night, but the return of Big Al – even in a limited role – should help with interior coverage, providing for more minutes and different rotations to try to match up with the dynamic mixture of potential and athleticism of the Bucks big three.
Picking up the win can give Charlotte a road win, continue their win streak, and help them stay alive in the playoff fight. Starting up after the All-Star break with the win would give momentum heading into subsequent road games with the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)