Hornets looking to go 3-0 against Bucks this season

NBA Basketball

The Charlotte Hornets are making adjustments deemed necessary with a revamped roster the past few games.

Yet, the Hornets don’t want to alter much when it comes to facing the Milwaukee Bucks.

Charlotte is 2-0 against the Bucks this season and Tuesday night will try to complete a season sweep against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference in Charlotte, N.C.

That includes an April 9 outcome in Milwaukee, 127-119, capping a strong road trip for the Hornets. Since then, Charlotte (30-30) has been through a tough stretch, winning just one of seven before capturing a pair of home games over the weekend against Cleveland and Boston.

Part of the recent change of fortunes might be related to accepting a lineup that’s smaller than the norm in the NBA.

“I like our small ball,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We’re much more aggressive now. We just have to dig out those rebounds. It’s not going to be pretty.”

This puts an even higher emphasis on perimeter scoring. Guard Devonte’ Graham racked up 24 points to pace four players who reached the 20-point mark in Sunday’s 125-104 whipping of the Boston Celtics.

“Our coaching staff keeps preaching, ‘We got to get up 3s. But they’ve got to be good 3s,’ ” Graham said. “We’ve just got to keep playing that way.”

The biggest positive from the performance against Boston might have been the Hornets’ 39 assists on 47 field goals.

“This is Hornets basketball,” Borrego said. “This is what it has to look like.”

It’s difficult to define Bucks basketball these days as Milwaukee has had a range of results this month.

“We’ve just got to be the toughest team as a group,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said.

Following the setback to Charlotte, the Bucks (37-23) reeled off three straight wins. Then there was a pair of defeats before Milwaukee beat the Philadelphia 76ers twice, only to fall Sunday night to the undermanned Atlanta Hawks, 111-104. The Bucks made only eight of 28 attempts from 3-point range.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points to lead the Bucks in scoring for the fifth game in a row. He missed the matchup with the Hornets earlier this month because of knee soreness.

There’s growing speculation that Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball might be close to returning to action following a broken wrist. In the meantime, Charlotte seems intent on accepting the benefits of the lineup it used during the weekend.

Four players had at least four 3-point baskets for the Hornets on Sunday, making them difficult to defend.

“When we get our whole starting five in double digits and play the way we play. It’s going to be tough for any opponent we’re going against,” Charlotte guard Terry Rozier said. “I think we like this starting five for right now. … We want to keep building off these two wins and look forward to Tuesday.”

For the Bucks, this game in Charlotte marks the second stop on a four-game road trip, with stops in Houston and Chicago to follow.

–Field Level Media

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