It might not feel that way now, given they were on the wrong end of the Spectrum Center scoreboard and the outcome stung a bit. But it could be precisely what the doctor prescribed to prepare them for what's to come.
As the Charlotte Hornets make their push for the postseason, matchups like Tuesday's against the Bucks may serve as a valuable lesson. Nothing quite beats experience.
Especially against a championship-level opponent -- one the Hornets had beaten in their previous two outings. It was a teaching moment, their 114-104 defeat at the hands of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his near triple double.
“I feel like that definitely every game from here on out, everybody is trying to get ready for playoffs," said Devonte' Graham, who paced Charlotte with 25 points and six assists. "Honestly, games are getting more physical out there on the court. Less foul calls and things like that. You can definitely feel the playoff atmosphere in these games.”
That's why for all the disappointment that accompanied their defeat to Milwaukee, learning even the slightest of the lessons is beneficial for the Hornets. Sure, there isn't exactly time for moral teachings when they lead Indiana only by a game for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining.
But they'll try to extract a few things. Like a need for increased focus.
“Yeah, I think there’s another level come playoff time," coach James Borrego said. "Obviously, it’s a different animal when you get to the playoffs. We’re moving in that direction. I feel like our attention to detail and our urgency and our competitive spirit’s there. We’re moving in the right direction, which is great. This is where you want to be this time of year. It’s starting to feel like that. But we’ve got execute better, I think, overall for 48 minutes. I thought in the Boston game, we did that for 48 minutes. We competed for 48 minutes. I’d say we weren’t quite up to that level tonight."
Not with the lapses that lead to them trailing by as many as 19 before trimming Milwaukee's advantage to four points late.
"So, for us to get to where we need to, we got to do (that) and play the way we did against Boston for 48 minutes," Borrego said. "That’s the goal. I’m not saying it’s easy. Not every team does this. This is why not everyone wins a championship. This is why not everyone is in the playoffs. It’s tough. It’s tough to grind it out and play that way every single night."
School was in session Tuesday, leaving the Hornets taking notes.
"I just feel like we have to pay attention to every detail," Miles Bridges said. "Just because teams are upping their physicality doesn't mean that we need to back down from them. I feel like we need to up our physicality even more. And just communicate on defense. If feel like if we communicate our defense is really good. We've just got to communicate and all be in sync."
Quotable: "I can play eight right now. (Wednesday) is a back-to-back so I could extend it. These guys are capable of handling it. Hopefully we get some reinforcements back here soon, then I’ll have a problem with playing too many. Hopefully I’ll have that problem here in a few days." -- James Borrego on going eight deep into his lineup
Noteworthy: Terry Rozier never got it going and struggled offensively. He went 4 of 17 and misfired on all seven of his shots beyond the 3-point line.
Up next: at Boston, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday