Kemba Walker is well on his way to being remembered as one of the most potent offensive players in Charlotte history and he looks for another solid outing when the Hornets host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. The seventh-year pro has matched Larry Johnson’s record for most 20-point outings (192) and can surpass the mark if he reaches at least 20 for the fourth consecutive contest.
Walker scored 27 points in Monday’s 104-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies and is averaging 29 points over the past three games. “He’s just so good,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford told reporters. “I mean, we get a shot every time he goes pick and roll. And if they double-team him, we get a shot, too. (Former coach and current television analyst) Jeff Van Gundy told us when we played Boston, everyone’s talking about Kyrie Irving, but he’s right there, too. He’s really good. I mean, he’s not just good. He’s like really, really good.” Milwaukee has a pretty good talent as well in star small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who matched his “season low” with 28 points in Tuesday’s 110-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The output marked just the second time in seven games that Antetokounmpo (34.7 average) scored fewer than 30 points this season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Southeast (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (4-3): Antetokounmpo has been carrying Milwaukee but he attempted just 14 shots against Oklahoma City - his first time under 20 this season - due to foul trouble that kept him on the bench for eight minutes of the second quarter. “I need to do a better job of being aware,” Antetokounmpo said afterward. “I know my team needs me on the floor, but that can’t stop me from being aggressive. I had two offensive fouls and I’d rather have those than the touch fouls. I just need to do a better job of staying on the floor and helping my teammates.” Nobody else scored in double digits for the Bucks, who were just 9-of-30 from 3-point range and outrebounded 46-31.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (4-3): Center Dwight Howard was in double digits on the boards in each of his first six games with the club before struggling badly against the Grizzlies. Howard grabbed just seven rebounds and had only two points on 1-of-9 shooting after being above 50 percent from the field in each contest this season. Despite the poor showing, Howard is averaging 13.7 points and 15 rebounds and his presence in the paint is helping create room for Walker on the perimeter.
1. The Bucks have won the past three meetings, including a 103-94 home win on Oct. 23 behind 32 points and 14 rebounds from Antetokounmpo.
2. Milwaukee SG Khris Middleton had just nine points on 3-of-13 shooting against Oklahoma City after scoring a season-high 27 two nights earlier against the Atlanta Hawks.
3. Charlotte PG Michael Carter-Williams (knee) has been assigned to the Greensboro Swarm of the G League for a rehab stint.
PREDICTION: Hornets 103, Bucks 99