This will be Milwaukee’s second game in a five-game homestand in which they must win all five in order to keep pace with the New York Knicks. The Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic last night to stretch their lead to one and a half games over the Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
This will be Milwaukee’s easiest opponent record-wise left on their schedule which means they must take full advantage of the reeling Bobcats. Charlotte will do whatever they can to play spoilers for the Bucks which means Milwaukee must be prepared for anything. The Bobcats have already defeated the Bucks once this year on December 26, the first game of the shortened NBA season. However, Milwaukee has added shooting guard Monta Ellis and forward/center Epke Udoh to the team since then.
Ellis and Udoh have been phenomenal additions as they have fit in perfectly with the team and contributed their fair share. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, Ellis took over the game and scored 16 of his 30 points over the last 4:32 of the game to give Milwaukee the 107-98 victory. The Cavaliers were closing in towards the end of the fourth quarter but the Bucks kept feeding Ellis the ball as it was clear no one was going to stop him.
Charlotte has lost six in a row on the road with their latest loss coming at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night in which they were blown out 120-93. However, the Bobcats have played the Bucks well this season with several close finishes. That alone should give the team enough confidence to make them believe they can win the game.
Milwaukee cannot afford to slip up and lose to Charlotte as they must treat every game as if it is an elimination game in the postseason. They need to play every opponent they face from here on out with the same intensity and energy. It is definitely possible to catch the Knicks as long as the Bucks take care of business over the last 12 games of the season.