The Milwaukee Bucks embark on an unusual four-game trip Wednesday night when they visit the Charlotte Hornets.
Coming off a 110-91 home drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, the Bucks travel to Charlotte for the second night of a back-to-back and then, after a day off, resurface at Detroit on Friday to take on the Pistons.
The Bucks then gets three nights off, but follow that with two more road games over a three-day stretch, facing heavyweights Cleveland and San Antonio next Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
In the Hornets, the Bucks will be seeing a team coming off two impressive wins — Sunday at home against Orlando and Monday at Memphis.
The Hornets and Bucks met last Monday in Charlotte, with the visitors prevailing 103-94 behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 32 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
The win was Milwaukee’s third straight against the Hornets. The Bucks also triumphed in their most recent trip to Charlotte, a 118-108 win last March.
Antetokounmpo had 20 points in the win at Charlotte, after having poured in 31 against the Hornets in the club’s previous meeting last October.
The league’s leading scorer has scored 28 or more points in all seven of the Bucks’ games. But he’s been limited to 28 in two of the last three, and Milwaukee has lost both of those games.
The Hornets came up short last week at Milwaukee despite a 22-rebound effort from Dwight Howard. He began the season with five double-doubles in six games and six straight double-figure rebounding efforts before being limited to two points and seven rebounds in Monday’s win at Memphis.
Charlotte’s two-game winning streak coincides with the return of backup big man Cody Zeller, who missed four of the first five games of the season with a knee injury.
Zeller contributed six points and six rebounds in 18 minutes to Sunday’s win over Orlando, then had 11 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes Monday against Memphis.
“The bench play is our biggest problem. It’s got to be better,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford insisted. “When we break the (starting) lineup, we’ve got to execute. I don’t mind guys missing shots and stuff, but we’ve got to know what we’re doing. If you’re not in the right spot in this league, you’ve got no shot.”
The Bucks gave Antetokounmpo very little support in Tuesday’s home loss.
While the star was scoring 28 points and making nine of his 14 shots, no other Bucks player had more than nine points.
Meanwhile, the 11 Bucks other than Antetokounmpo who saw action in the loss combined to shoot 23-for-62 (37.1 percent).
Milwaukee’s three losses this season have come against Boston, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, three of the league top teams.
“When we play the grown-ups, we’ve got to be ready, and we weren’t,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd observed. “They played the grown-ups tonight.”
A Charlotte win on Wednesday would even the all-time series at 53-all.
The road team has won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two.