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Reply To: NBA • Friday Service Plays • 2/19/16

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Preview: Charlotte At Milwaukee

When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, February 19, 2016
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Charlotte Hornets surged into the All-Star break with three straight wins to jump into the top eight in the Eastern Conference but got some bad news this week. Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will miss Friday’s visit to the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the season due to a torn labrum in his surgically repaired right shoulder.

Kidd-Gilchrist played only seven games this season due to a previous shoulder surgery but seemed to have stabilized the team in that span, especially at the defensive end. Charlotte made a move to bolster the lineup with Kidd-Gilchrist out and completed a three-team trade to bring in veteran guard Courtney Lee from the Memphis Grizzlies. The Bucks won their final two outings heading into the break on the heels of a five-game slide and still believe they have time to make a playoff push over their last 28 games. Guard Khris Middleton’s name has not come up much in trade rumors, and he is making himself a part of the team’s future by leading the club in scoring (17.9).

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

ABOUT THE HORNETS (27-26): Kidd-Gilchrist’s loss is a big blow to Charlotte, though the team appears on the verge of getting center Al Jefferson (knee surgery) back as soon as Friday. The acquisition of Lee will likely move Nicolas Batum over from shooting guard to small forward – the position he occupied with the Portland Trail Blazers before being acquired by Charlotte over the summer. “He brings a lot of experience,” Hornets general manager Rich Cho told reporters of Lee. “He’s a veteran and a true professional who brings shooting and defense. He’s a guy we’re really excited about.”

ABOUT THE BUCKS (22-32): Milwaukee’s underwhelming first half led to a lot of wild trade speculation leading up to Thursday afternoon’s deadline, but in the end center Greg Monroe and forward Jabari Parker – the two biggest names being bandied about – remained with the team. Monroe came off the bench in the Bucks’ last two games but still averaged 31.5 minutes in the back-to-back wins. He was joined in the reserve corps by point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who is on his second stint as a reserve while coach Jason Kidd tries to find the right mix.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Gs P.J. Hairston and Brian Roberts, along with a pair of second-round draft picks, were sent away by the Hornets in the deal to acquire Lee.

2. Bucks G O.J. Mayo totaled two points in the last two games while starting in place of Carter-Williams.

3. The teams split a pair of meetings in Charlotte previously this season, with Milwaukee taking the most recent matchup 105-92 on Jan. 16.

PREDICTION: Hornets 96, Bucks 92