The Milwaukee Bucks run it back against the Charlotte Hornets after these two teams met on Saturday night. The Hornets were able to get the better of Milwaukee in the first meeting. Read on to take a look at the NBA odds and start making your NBA picks.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets
Monday, January 10, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Spectrum Center
The Bucks lost in Charlotte on Saturday night, but they were also in the classic letdown spot. After a high-profile 121-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets on ESPN on Friday night, they were not able to replicate their championship-level performance against the Hornets. Charlotte took advantage of a tired Bucks team. It was the Bucks’ third loss in four games. The loss dropped Milwaukee to 13-9 on the road.
Giannis Antetokounmpo cannot be blamed for the loss. Giannis produced 43 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. There were bright spots to the loss, however. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had previously struggled from the free-throw line, hit 18 out of 20 free throws. Khris Middleton was one assist shy of a triple-double going for 27 points, 10 rebounds, with 9 assists.
The Bucks struggled in the first half and only scored 41 points. The Bucks had an anemic 30.6% shooting percentage from the field in the first half. The Bucks didn't really come to life until the end of the game. The Bucks were down by 14 with 4:50 left in the game. The Bucks stormed back, dropping the Hornets lead to 4 with 47.5 seconds left. It was not enough, however, as then Terry Rozier hit a 3-pointer to seal the victory.
The Bucks have gone through the full gamut of handicapping situations this weekend. On Friday night, they were in the high-profile game. On Saturday night, they were in the letdown spot, and tonight they are in the bounce-back spot. The Bucks are 9-6 after a loss, but only 7-8 against the spread with a point differential of +.5 in those games after a loss.
The Hornets were able to catch Milwaukee in a tough situation on Saturday, but how will they handle a rested Bucks team? The Hornets were led by Terry Rozier on Saturday. Rozier scored 28 points and hit the three-point shot that put away the game. During the course of the game, Charlotte switched to a zone defense that flummoxed the Bucks offense. It will be interesting to see if Charlotte can implement the zone with the same effectiveness tonight.
LaMelo Ball had an effective night as well, with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. LaMelo was 8-19 from the floor, but only 2-7 from 3. Charlotte will definitely be hoping that Ball is able to shoot better from behind the arc tonight. Miles Bridges brought the intensity on defense. Bridges also chipped in 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Bridges' emergence this year has been key to the Hornets' success.
Kelly Oubre Jr. had a strong contribution off the bench while adding 18 points. Oubre was only 2-11 from the three-point line. The Hornets have to be encouraged that they were able to win the game with two of their best 3-point shooters shooting poorly. Kelly Oubre Jr. is crucial to the Hornets' defensive scheme. Oubre can play man or zone and cover the two through four positions effectively.
Khris Middleton vs. LaMelo Ball
LaMelo Ball is the team's leader on offense. His infectious playmaking ability permeates through the team when he is playing well. Khris Middleton is an excellent shooter and scorer but his defense is underrated. His ability to slow down Ball will be crucial tonight. LaMelo Ball cannot play defense at the level of Middleton, but it will be on Middleton to attempt to slow down Ball.
Middleton will most likely be guarded by Miles Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr. Regardless, these forwards will be very important to their teams' success. If Middleton is able to give Ball a lot of trouble and keep him from having a huge night on offense, the Bucks will be in a good position to exact their revenge. If LaMelo Ball has another big night, the Hornets can complete the sweep.
I think this is a great spot for the Bucks. They are coming off a loss to this exact squad and will be eager to fix their mistakes after getting a day to rest and think. The Hornets are a good team, but vulnerable to size. With the recuperation, the Bucks should be able to punish Charlotte by attacking their weakness. Today’s best bet is the Milwaukee Bucks -2.
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