The Charlotte Hornets have stumbled out of the gate to start the season, having fallen well below the .500 mark. The Hornets are coming off edging the Detroit Pistons at home.
The Milwaukee Bucks have continued to push forward atop the Eastern Conference through the first several weeks of the season. The Bucks have continued to topple through their competition as one of the hottest teams in the league.
It sets up an intriguing matchup on Saturday night.
Hornets struggling to find footingThe Hornets have stumbled to start the season, struggling to find their footing in the Eastern Conference behind their young core leading the way on the court. It has seen the bulk of that come with their scoring since the departure of All-Star point guard Kemba Walker over the offseason, as it has left a huge void for the franchise to fill. Charlotte is currently averaging 105.7 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the floor. Their offensive struggles have shown over the last five games, scoring 102 or fewer points three times in the last five games. These issues have prevented them from gathering any sort of forward momentum this season.
The team has received some strong play from point guard Devonte' Graham stepping into the primary role as their top-scoring option and ball handler. It has led to him drastically improving his scoring output by 13.3 points as he's notching 18.0 points, which is the biggest leap from last year to this season for any player in the league. His play has been a major reason why the team has had any sort of traction and remain competitive. The Hornets will need Graham to step up his production if there is any hope for the team to challenge the Bucks' strong scoring punch, which has been the highest-scoring team in the league.
Bucks continue to dominate Eastern ConferenceThe Bucks have kept their foot on the pedal through the start of this season, pushing their way to the top mark in the Eastern Conference behind the balanced play from their roster. All of that has been led by the reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge by putting together what has been an even more productive campaign as he's second with 31.1 points along with 13.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists per contest while shooting 56.0 percent from the floor. Although he has struggled from beyond the arc and the free-throw line, it has greatly impacted his overall performance on the floor as he's well on his way to possibly post his second straight campaign where he could be in serious contention to earn the MVP award.
Antetokounmpo is currently lead the league with 11 games where he has at least 30 points and 10 rebounds this season, which is more than double the second-highest total by Luka Doncic (five) this year. He has reached this mark in 10 out of his last 13 games played that has helped the Bucks stay on top of the Eastern Conference. On top of that, Milwaukee has welcomed back All-Star forward Khris Middleton back into the mix as he returned nearly two weeks earlier than expected from a quadriceps injury. In his first game back, Middleton notched 16 points in the win against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. The team will likely take the precautionary approach with their star forward and keep him out of the second leg of a back-to-back on Saturday to keep him healthy. Regardless if Middleton plays or not, their offense has been the most productive in the league with 119.4 points per contest while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. That alone should power them past the Hornets.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Milwaukee is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games against a team with a road winning% of less than .400.
- Home team is 7-1-1 ATS in the last nine meetings.
- Charlotte is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games against a team with a winning% above .600.
- Charlotte is 0-4 ATS in their last four road games.