Game On: Hornets @ Bucks

Published: February 15, 2012

Hornets head into Milwaukee tonight shorthanded, but with momentum following Monday’s win.

Anybody here feeling two in a row?! The Hornets head into Milwaukee tonight with a legitimate chance of having a multi-game winning streak for the first time since their red-hot 2-0 start this season. Milwaukee has lost its last four home games and has been horrible defensively since shot-blocking center Andrew Bogut has been out, forcing them to start the ultra soft Drew Gooden in the middle. The game will be the first of six straight on the road for the Hornets, who will not play another game at home until February 29th against Toronto.

Keys to the Matchup:

1. Dominate the Paint

Stating the obvious here, but sometimes doing that is necessary. The Bucks use a rotation of Gooden, Jon Brockman, and Ersan Ilysova in the middle, so Kaman and the Goose should eat them alive. (Side Note: If Kaman is going to get so many minutes with Goose and play recklessly, yet superb, can we start calling him Maverick?) The Heat out rebounded Milwaukee by 13 in their last game, and there is no reason that the Hornets bigger front line should not at least match that.

2. Slow down the pace

The Bucks play at the 10th fastest pace in the league, while the Hornets are dead last. Milwaukee thrives on creating turnovers and getting easy buckets or open three’s from those turnovers. If this becomes a half court game, with each team only getting 75-85 possessions, the Hornets can maximize their advantage down low and snap their seven-game road losing streak.

3. Keep Stephen Jackson healthy and out of foul trouble

This team is full of tough-minded, blue collar guys who play to the final buzzer and leave their egos at the door. Well, except for Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson. The difference, however, is that Jennings can ball while SJax has been just plain awful this year. Yet Skiles still gives him nearly 30 minutes per game. He shoots under 40% from the field, doesn’t play a lick of defense, has the lowest PER of any perimeter player on the team, and keeps jacking up three’s despite the fact that he is only hitting 28% of them on the year. Other than that, though, he is playing great.

Other News and Notes:

– Kaman will play tonight and we will all keep our fingers crossed that he stays healthy through the rest of the month, as Dell continues to look for trades. If you haven’t checked it out, we put this article up yesterday that showcases why Demps is doing the smart thing by waiting a little longer to trade Kaman.

Vegas Zone: Hornets 10 point underdogs, over/under is 184.5. I say pound the over and the Hornets to cover. I don’t know if the Hornets will win this game, but I think they are becoming more like the team that would play everyone close and narrowly lose to average teams.  A parlay with Hornets +9.5 and the over should net you a 3-1 return. Give me 10% of that when you win and we’ll call it even. If you lose, I will email you a card for your birthday.

– For those of you interested in all the off the court business surrounding the Hornets, the future of the team in the city, our new owner, what really happened with the CP3 to Lakers trade, etc. – Check out this week’s podcast with Hugh Weber. If you are more interested in on the court stuff and what the league will do when mutants and/or humans with super powers enter the league, check out the weekly podcast with Ryan and myself.

Ping Pong alert: Wizards actually won again last night, giving the Hornets a two-game lead in the race for the 2nd most ping-pong balls. Charlotte can’t win to save their life, losing 15 straight. But they have a chance to make everything right in the world tonight by traveling to Minnesota and pouncing on the Wolves. Minny has lost 4 straight and would currently own the 12th pick, but 5 teams are within 2.5 games of Minny and if they continue to slide, the Hornets can easily be looking at two top 8 picks.

– ESPN’s Chris Palmer offers a brilliant option for the Magic in his latest piece- “Don’t trade Dwight, just go out and get another superstar!” Oh, why didn’t Otis Smith think of that? Brilliant. And guess who he says the Magic should target; none other than Eric Gordon, who the Hornets would apparently trade for Ryan Anderson and Earl Clark. In related news, Tom Brady is thinking of trading in GBunch (what her friends, including me, call her) for that chick for Mike and Molly.

– Looking forward to hearing from all of you before/during the game. What I would like to hear about is your thoughts on Monty’s rotation tonight. If you like/dislike, chime in. See you in the recap!



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