Four takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets third straight win over the Milwaukee Bucks

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo /

Against the Milwaukee Bucks, Kemba Walker was his usual self while a rookie exploded for a breakout game off of the bench.

The Charlotte Hornets captured their third win in a row against the Milwaukee Bucks 126-121. After beating the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, and now the Bucks, here are some takeaways:

The Hornets Can Compete With the East’s Elite

After Giannis Antetokounmpo got Milwaukee off to a hot start, many considered them to one of the best in the East. With Gordon Hayward’s injury, there were even predictions of them being able to secure the second seed.

The Hornets have played them twice, and both times they’ve competed with them. In the first matchup they came up just a little short, but last night they were able to finish. Throughout the entire night, Giannis was held in check. He finished with just 14 points, by far his lowest total of the season, on just 5-16 shooting.

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Despite still being shorthanded, the Hornets proved that when they’re clicking they can compete with anyone, bar none. The Bucks beat the Celtics and nearly beat the Cavs, and the Hornets belong in the same tier as them.

The top and middle of the Eastern Conference is a toss-up, but the Hornets belong in the mix.  It’ll be intriguing to see how the Hornets fair against upcoming opponents in the Spurs and the Cavaliers.

Malik Monk’s Success Can Take the Hornets to the Next Level

In Malik Monk’s young career, he’s arguably had two “breakout” games. Against Denver, he had a smooth 17, and last night had an explosive 25. In each of these games, the Hornets were able to maintain control of the game for one main reason.

He gave the second unit their own “Kemba Walker”.  

Kemba Walker has the uncanny ability to be able to take over with his handles, shooting, and shimmies. However, the Hornets didn’t have to wait for Kemba to enter back into the game to take it over in the fourth. Monk brought his own swagger to the game with 18 fourth-quarter points.

Monk’s ability to consistently have these performances will hinge on the Hornets success against great teams, and even in the playoffs. Had Monk not taken over the game tonight, it may have been too late by the time Kemba came in. Granted, once Nicolas Batum comes back Jeremy Lamb will be an additional versatile scoring option in the second unit, but Malik Monk is the future of this team.

The Hive’s Home Court Advantage is Real

When you look at the last two times the Hornets/Bobcats were in the playoffs, they had one glaring thing in common. Their records at home.

The 2013-2014 team finished an impressive 25-16 at home, good enough for sixth best in the conference. In the 2015-2016 season, it was even better. The team that was the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, had a 30-11 record at home. That record was good enough for sixth be in the entire NBA.

The Hive may not always pack the house. Whenever the team needs it, though, you can feel the energy in there through the TV. When Kemba is dancing behind the crowd and high-fiving them, you know he’s locked in. Even for players like Frank Kaminsky that feed off of confidence in themselves, and the crowd provides that.  

Honestly, it’s not just the crowd, but the bench too. I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my lifetime, and not many benches excitement compare to the Hornets this season. From bench guys like Marcus Paige to veterans like Marvin Williams, they all go crazy for those in the game.

The chemistry between the team and fans, and chemistry within themselves. That’s part of the formula for a great team.

Bonus: The Broadcast Booth Needs Stephanie Ready

Hornets’ fans have talked about this topic A LOT, but not enough.  

Don’t get me wrong, Dell and Eric are great, but with Stephanie, they are even better. Every time she’s doing an interview or sideline report, it’s a shame that we know we won’t hear her throughout the entire game.

Next: Charlotte may have finally hit the draft lottery jackpot

Who knows whether or not FOX Sports SouthEast would consider making a change, but it’s worth it to try. Stephanie deserves it. Those are the biggest takeaways from Wednesday Night, the Hornets will next play in San Antonio on Friday.