The Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks seek their 11th consecutive win on Saturday when they host a young Charlotte Hornets bunch.
Both teams are coming off wins, and on the second leg of back-to-backs. The Bucks ripped off their 10th consecutive victory on Friday, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road, 119-110.
The winning streak matches the franchise's longest since the 1985-86 season -- a remarkable accomplishment given Milwaukee finished 2018-19 with the NBA's best regular-season record.
"It's always fun to win," Bucks guard George Hill said to FOX Sports Milwaukee following Friday's game. "We got to work every day to compete at a high level, play together, and it's showing."
Hill scored 18 points at Cleveland, making his return to the lineup after missing two games due to back soreness. Hill has been an important complementary piece for a Bucks team with plenty of balance, but a clear cornerstone with reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo continued at his MVP pace on Friday. The league's second-leading scorer posted 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Saturday marks this season's first meeting between Milwaukee and Charlotte. Last season en route to a 3-1 Bucks record against the Hornets, Antetokounmpo posted games of 25 points and 18 rebounds; 20 points and 13 rebounds; 34 points and 13 rebounds; and 26 points with 13 rebounds.
The 2019-20 Hornets come to Milwaukee with a much different looking lineup in terms of contribution. Gone is All-Star Kemba Walker, sent to Boston in a sign-and-trade for Terry Rozier. Picking up the slack as leading scorer is second-year guard Devonte' Graham, who played just 14.7 minutes per game in 2018-19.
This season, Graham is averaging 18 points and 7.5 assists per game. Rozier is adding 17.2 points per game. Another new face, rookie P.J. Washington, is coming off his best back-to-back performances of the season with 17 points and five rebounds in Wednesday's win over the Detroit Pistons; and 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor in a second straight defeat of Detroit.
Nine-year veteran Bismack Biyombo, who is all of 27 years old, has provided a savvy complement to Charlotte's burgeoning kiddie corps. Speaking with reporters, Hornets coach James Borrego offered effusive praise of Biyombo's play following Friday's 110-107 win in Detroit.
"Protecting the paint, more rim protection, just more urgency, his defensive presence overall," Borrego listed in the center's contributions.
That defensive presence and work on the glass, where Biyombo averages just below nine rebounds per 36 minutes, will both be critical in trying to slow Antetokounmpo.
The Hornets rank last in the NBA with 40.9 rebounds per game, and are giving up 46.1. Opponents have also shot 48.7 percent from the floor on Charlotte, the next-to-worst average allowed in the league.
At 47.3 percent shooting, Milwaukee is fourth in the NBA. Antetokounmpo contributes to that with a 56 percent average.
--Field Level Media