The Milwaukee Bucks puts its four-game winning streak on the line Tuesday when it plays host to the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte opens a three-game road trip, fresh off stunning the Miami Heat in a 122-117 decision on Sunday to earn consecutive victories.
All five Hornets starters scored in double figures, led by Terry Rozier’s 31 points, as Charlotte posted almost 14 points more than the NBA’s second-stingiest defense allows per contest. P.J. Washington scored 27 points in the win, and Gordon Hayward - playing in just his 25th game this season - scored 20 points.
The performance marked Hayward’s highest scoring output since Nov. 20, as the veteran wing has missed more than half of the Hornets’ games due to a fractured shoulder and hamstring injury.
“It’s amazing,” Rozier said of Charlotte’s play with a healthy lineup on the Bally Sports Carolina broadcast. “We all know that it’s been unfortunate not to have our full squad, we’ve dealt with injuries all season long. But obviously we’re showing the league what we can do when we’ve got everybody healthy.”
The Hornets scored a 111-96 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Thursday and have won four of their last six games.
The Bucks seek their fifth consecutive win, which would mark their best stretch since opening the season 9-0.
Milwaukee opened its current, four-game homestand on Sunday with a 135-110 blowout of New Orleans. The Bucks reached at least 130 points for the fifth time in seven games in the dominant performance.
Sunday also marked the second-highest scoring game of the season for two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who poured in 50 points. Antetokounmpo returned Jan. 23 from a five-game absence due to knee soreness and has averaged 38.3 points over the past four games.
The last two times out, Antetokounmpo produced his ninth and 10th games of 40-plus points on the campaign, notching 41 Friday at Indiana.
“There’s this level I’m trying to get to, and right now was a step toward that direction. But you can never be comfortable,” Antetokounmpo said. “ ... Making those shots, it makes the game a lot easier. It’s something that I know I’m capable of, but I’ve got to keep on working on it.”
In addition to Antetokounmpo’s play since returning to the lineup, Milwaukee has leaned on the standout performance of Jrue Holiday for much of January.
Holiday had scored 20-plus points in seven of his past nine games before his 17-point effort on Sunday. He has four double-doubles since Jan. 6 and is averaging 7.7 assists over that 12-game stretch.
The Bucks’ winning streak has come in spite of losing spark plug Bobby Portis to a knee injury. Portis is averaging a double-double of 14.4 points and 10.1 rebounds, primarily coming off the bench.
Portis missed the last three games and is expected to be sidelined at least two weeks total while recovering from the MCL sprain.