3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks to bounce back against Charlotte Hornets

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 01: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 01: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo, Jrue Holiday. Charlotte Hornets: Terry Rozier,
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – APRIL 27: (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

It certainly wasn’t the way the Milwaukee Bucks wanted to open their stretch run, but the nice thing about the NBA is that you don’t have to wait too long to try to bounce back!

In the fifth game of their six-game homestand (that has spanned across the All-Star break), they get the Charlotte Hornets who, for whatever reason, give the Bucks a tough time. They’re 1-2 against the Hornets this season, losing both road games and narrowly winning their first home game.

Milwaukee has lost four of its last five games and the Hornets will give them another test. They aren’t even close to the same level as some of the other teams they’ll face down the stretch, but getting a win over a team that gives you trouble after losing a game you shouldn’t have had much trouble with would be a nice pick-me-up for the team and fans.

Please, Milwaukee Bucks, limit the turnovers — especially against the Charlotte Hornets

If there’s one thing we know for sure about the Hornets, it’s that they love to get out, run, and get a lot of their points in transition. That’s part of the reason why the Bucks have struggled against them so much this season.

In both of their losses to the Hornets this season, the Bucks lost the turnover battle and gave it away 35 times in two games. For context, the Bucks didn’t have Jrue Holiday, George Hill, or Grayson Allen for any of those games.

In their lone win, the Bucks did turn it over 13 times (not ideal) but six of them were from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks will at least have Holiday and Allen for this game (Hill is questionable), so that should help them limit the turnovers.

Charlotte also gets a ton of transition baskets off of the opponent’s misses, so transition defense as a whole will need to be tight. Milwaukee has been one of the best transition defenses this season, so hopefully, that carries over to tonight.

Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Jordan Nwora. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges
Jan 10, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

How will the Milwaukee Bucks defend the Charlotte Hornets’ dangerous backcourt duo?

After getting waxed for 38 points on 63.4 percent true shooting from Kyrie Irving and 19 points on 74.5 percent true shooting from Seth Curry in their last game, the Milwaukee Bucks will have to face off against another offensively-gifted backcourt in LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier.

In three games against the Bucks this season, here are what Ball and Rozier are averaging:

  • Ball: 26.0 points (61 percent true shooting), 6.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists
  • Rozier: 21.7 points (63.9 percent true shooting), 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists

Again, context is needed as three of the guys who would primarily be tasked with guarding those two (Holiday, Hill, Allen) missed two of those games and that’s when Rozier really took off.

In the two games without those three, Rozier averaged 27.5 points on nearly 70 percent true shooting. Simply having Holiday and Allen should slow Rozier down a bit more, in addition to however many minutes Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews see against him.

Heck, even Khris Middleton has held him to 1-of-8 shooting across three games, so he’s proven to be a solid option. He won’t get to feast against backups as much as he did in their past two meetings.

Ball has been great no matter who is in front of him. He’s played well against Holiday this season, going 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3, and dished out five assists as well. Containing how effective he is, goes back to limiting their transition chances so he has fewer opportunities to find open teammates or have easy driving lanes.

The Hornets’ offense is more than these two (Miles Bridges has been playing at a near All-Star level), but Ball leads the dance and Rozier is right there behind him to fill in the gaps.