Milwaukee Bucks vs Houston Rockets Preview
The (25-10) Milwaukee Bucks take on the (17-16) Houston Rockets Saturday evening in Houston, Texas at the Toyota Center. The Rockets are coming off a brutal loss to the hands of the Timberwolves. Minnesota, right now, looks like one of the best teams in the NBA.
After this Saturday’s showdown, the Bucks come back home and play Utah Monday Night in Milwaukee. This stretch of games here comes against beatable, Western Conference teams that are for, lack of a better term, “annoying”. The Bucks have already defeated San Antonio. You’d really like for them to defeat either Houston here or Utah at home.
Vegas has the Milwaukee Bucks at an 69% chance to win the game against Houston and 7 point favorites. This is the last time these two teams will play each other unless they face off in the NBA Finals. Milwaukee won game one of the season series (129-119).
Keys for the Milwaukee Bucks
Make your free throws
Houston is a team that has dramatically improved in the turnover category. Last season they were one of the worst, if not the worst team, night-in and night-out in terms of team turnovers. They always seemed to be giving up easy buckets. (29th NBA- 16.7)
This season they only give up 13.2 team turnovers a game. But they still foul a ton (21 personal fouls given up a game). So the play here seems to be to make sure you make your free throws because they aren’t giving up easy transition baskets anymore.
Against the Spurs, the Milwaukee Bucks were a pedestrian 15-19 from the line (78%).
The Bucks need to hit their free throws.
Win the Three Point Battle
Houston will win if they get hot from behind the arc. Milwaukee needs to make sure to guard against the three.
The Bucks are 6th in the NBA in made threes a game (13.6). Houston is 17th (12.5) There is an opportunity there for Houston to beat a better team if they can, say, go +5 on threes. The Milwaukee Bucks need to shut that down.
The Opponent: The Houston Rockets
Dillion Brooks is out. That helps Milwaukee because he can be tough to play against. Plus Houston will miss the 18 points he contributed in Milwaukee’s game one win.
Andrew Sengun is a good young center. Sometimes referred to as a “Mini Jokic”, Sengun continues to improve and averages 21/8/5. The consensus seems to be that the development of Christian Wood last year in some ways stunted Sengun’s growth. Of course the truth is all of the Rocket players are so young, it feels like they are just taking a more “shotgun approach” to player development. They still have some really young, raw players.
Jabari Smith Jr. (20 years old) is one of those “raw” players. He is averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds a game. Not bad for someone who still can’t legally drink.
Jalen Green is another one of those raw players. He is averaging 17 points a game. At 21 years old at least he can’t order a beer at Sobleman’s.
Ime Udoka might be the Rockets biggest offseason pick-up. The former Spurs player and Celtics coach has the team playing very disciplined ball.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- The Bucks won the NBA championship in 1971 when they defeated the Baltimore Bullets.
- The Bucks lead the all-time series 75-60.
- Brook Lopez has 1,960 career blocked shots.
- Ime Udoka is that “same guy” who coached the Celtics and was fired for having an affair with a staffer.
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