MILWAUKEE — To be honest, the game against the Bucks worried me a little bit. Not too long ago, this would have been a game the Hornets easily would have dropped. Third worst team. On the road. Everything to gain. Opponent has nothing to lose. The Hornets surprised me with how they came out and controlled the game from the start. That’s what they need to do in each of these last eight games if they want to qualify for the postseason.
For as good as Tuesday’s blowout win was, I’d caution against getting too excited about this team’s playoff chances just yet. Forget the fact that the Bucks are 25-48. Forget about how Charlie Villanueva, Bobby Simmons and Andrew Bogut are all out for the season. The things that didn’t look good despite the blowout win were defense (of course), turnovers and bench play.
The Hornets had 21 turnovers, leading to 24 Bucks points. That’s pretty much a guaranteed loss against the Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets. Obviously the Hornets can’t afford anymore losses, let alone four, so they need to take better care of the ball.
The Hornets shouldn’t have given up 101 points to an injury-plagued Bucks team. The Bucks do average 99, but without the aforementioned names, they shouldn’t have reached 101 points or shot 48.2 percent for the game. That tells me, this team’s defense still isn’t where it needs to be to be successful. Again, against the better teams, that’s a loss on most nights.
And the bench play can’t have a drop off like it did in the second quarter. Entering the fourth quarter, the Hornets had 11 bench points. Milwaukee guard Lynn Greer had scored 15 by himself.
The Hornets have one more gimmie Wednesday as the Sonics come into town. They had better take care of business because their chances are slim to none if they don’t beat Seattle. Maybe they’ll correct some of their mistakes against the Sonics.