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Three Things To Watch For - Bucks v. Hornets

The Milwaukee Bucks are through their first ten games of the season and come into this game with a positive record of 6-4. They face off against the Raptors before flying to Charlotte for their Friday game against the Hornets. Here are three things to watch for in their upcoming game this Friday in NBA Tournament league play against the Hornets.

Who is going to step up on defense?

The Bucks have been known for their defense more than anything these past few seasons. While they knew the defense would suffer a bit when getting rid of a player like Jrue Holiday, the offense and pairing of Giannis and Damian Lillard was too much to pass up. Thus far, the defense has been worse, but the Bucks should be looking for who can step up to fill the void on defense. Jae Crowder was also announced to be undergoing surgery on his left abductor, which means he will be out for at least two months. With losing depth and a top perimeter defender, the Bucks will need to get back to their old ways of having a good defense that makes it easier for the offensive firepower they have on the roster to win games.

How does Damian Lillard Match Up with LaMelo Ball?

Damian Lillard, whom the Bucks seemed to miss last game, will get a young upcoming guard in Ball on Friday night. The star-studded guard is off to an excellent start in Milwaukee and is more than understandably enjoying having star teammates around him for a change. Lillard comes into this game averaging just under twenty-three points per game, while Ball is coming into this game averaging close to twenty-two points per game. Lillard's defense will also be something to watch in this matchup to see if he can outscore and shut down the Hornet's number-one option.

Free Throws

While free throws are all they say in the name, as in the supposed-to-be easy points, the Bucks are shooting just under 75% as a team. For example, 74.5% is twenty-second out of thirty total teams in the league. While it is still early, the Bucks will need to start improving their free throws, especially in the fourth quarter, so that they can help close out games. They have already seen what can happen if they don't put teams away in the fourth quarter this season with a near-blown lead to the Heat and the opener against the 76ers; they'll need to close out games by doing the little things right. While free throws seem small, they can very often decide a game that is close, so the Bucks should be looking to improve that starting on Friday night.

(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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