New Orleans Hornets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Preview and Pick

New Orleans Hornets -4.5 (40-23) at Milwaukee Bucks +4.5 30-37 O/U 198 8:30 PM ET Friday March 13, 2009
By Jason Green at

The Bucks are still hanging on to the 8th position in the East, but they have really been playing like they are not a playoff bound team, as they are coming off a loss and are only 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Hornets are currently in the 5th position in the West and they will be a in a battle with several teams, as the third place Rockets and the 8th place Mavericks are only 1.5 games apart with Portland, Utah, New Orleans, and Denver in the middle. The Hornets have been playing great as of late, as they are coming off a win and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Bucks have been decimated this year by injuries and it is a wonder that they are still in the playoff race. After high expectations this season the Hornets are starting to move up in the standings, but can they challenge the Lakers or even the Spurs for the Western Conference crown?

This season the Bucks are 19-13 at home and the Hornets are 17-14 away from the Big Easy.

Online Sportsbooks have the Hornets as 4.5-point favorites in this game with a total around 198. The Hornets are posted at -270 as road favorites and the Bucks are posted at +210 as home dogs.

The Hornets come into this game after beating the Washington Wizards in D.C. on Wednesday night 109-98. The high scorer in that game for the Hornets was Chris Paul going for 30 points on 11/16 shooting and also dishing out 13 dimes. For the game the Hornets were on fire, shooting 40/76 for a FG% of 52.6%. On D the Hornets allowed the Wizards to shoot 38/84 for a FG% of 45.2%.

The Bucks come into this game after losing at home to the New York Knicks 120-112 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Bucks in that game was Charlie Villanueva going for 32 points on 14/26 shooting. For the game the Bucks shot 40/93 for a FG% of 43%. On D the Bucks allowed the Knicks to shoot 37/78 for a FG% of 47.4%.

This season the Bucks rank 13th in scoring (99.9 ppg) and the Hornets rank 25th (96.4 ppg). On D it’s a different matter, as the Hornets are legit ranking 4th in points allowed (93.6 ppg), while the Bucks only rank 18th (100.4 ppg). The Bucks are actually a better team on the glass, but not by much, as they have a rebounding differential of +0.9 rpg and the Hornets are almost even at +0.1 rpg.

This season the Bucks are 35-29-3 ATS and the Hornets are 27-34-2. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Bucks are 38-29 and the Hornets are 28-34-1.

On the injury front PF Sean Marks and SF Peja Stojakovic are day-to-day for the Hornets while the Bucks are not reporting any significant injuries.

Even though the Bucks are listed as healthy they lost Michael Redd for the year and Andrew Bogut and Luke Ridnour have missed significant time due to injuries.

For the Hornets it is all about PG Chris Paul (21.5 ppg), who has been on fire, as he has averaged 25.5 ppg 13 assists per game and 3.5 steals per game in his last 4 outings. The Bucks have to play good perimeter D on Paul and on 3-point gunner Stojakovic, who should be back for tonight’s game.

Charlie Villanueva (16.7 ppg) has kept the Bucks in games lately, as he is averaging 25.1 ppg while making 47.1% of his 3-pointers over his last 11 home games. He and Richard Jefferson (18.8 ppg) have to provide most of the scoring for the Bucks tonight.

The Bucks do not have good interior defense and they need to contain Tyson Chandler (9 ppg 8.7 rpg) and David West (20.2 ppg) and not let them dominate the lane.

This game basically comes down to if the Bucks can keep Paul in check, as if they do they can win this game but if Paul goes off the Bucks will lose.

The Hornets will be looking for their 7th win in a row over the Bucks tonight.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Hornets to steal a road win tonight and cover the number vs. a currently lackluster Bucks team.