Perfect timing: Bucks – Rockets Preview

What to Watch For: Bucks (10-7)

Larry Sanders was saddled with foul trouble and both Zaza Pachulia and John Henson were out against the Pistons in Detroit on Friday, so Milwaukee slid Ersan Ilyasova and even Giannis Antetokounmpo into the center position with surprisingly successful results. Can the make shift lineups work again? Given the absence of Dwight Howard, it’s possible Milwaukee’s in prime shape to trot out a variety of small lineups again.

The key will be Ersan Ilyasova. Over his past five games, he’s averaging 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds on 52.7% shooting. Consistency has always been a battle for Ilyasova and he’s found it lately, at a perfect time for the Bucks.

What to Watch For: Rockets (12-4)

Tonight is a good night to play the Houston Rockets, as one of the premier teams in the Western Conference is without its starting center, starting point guard and backup point guard. Still, the Rockets are second in the league in defensive rating and won’t be giving Milwaukee many easy looks in the half court. Sure, some of their defense can be attributed to Dwight Howard’s impact, but even without him lately, they haven’t fallen too far down the rankings on that end.

One area where the Rockets struggle? Turnovers. They’re turning the ball over 17.4 times per game, which lands them 28th in the league. Milwaukee’s been great at capitalizing on turnovers this season and surely will look to push the ball aggressively whenever they force the Rockets into a miscue. If Houston turns the ball over 20 times, Milwaukee will win this game.

Logistics:

Time – 8:00 p.m. CST  TV – FS-Wisconsin  Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Damien Inglis (post-surgery — right ankle; out); Johnny O’Bryant (right knee sprain; out); Zaza Pachulia (personal; out); Nate Wolters (illness; out); John Henson (foot; questionable)

Rockets: Dwight Howard (strained right knee; out), Terrence Jones (peroneal nerve contusion; out), Patrick Beverly (strained left hamstring; out), Isaiah Canaan (left ankle; out)

Projected Lineups

Bucks: Brandon KnightO.J. Mayo – Jabari Parker – Giannis Antetokounmpo – Larry Sanders

Rockets: Jason TerryJames HardenTrevor Ariza – Donatas Montiejunas – Tarik Black

Choose the Form of the Destructor: James Harden

I have been trying to grow a beard lately. It’s been about a month since I shaved, and it’s finally coming in with a bit of thickness in the neck area. It’s the most beard I have ever had.

It would take me multiple years to get a fraction of what James Harden carries on his face every day. He is incredible.

Oh, also, he’s an amazing basketball player. He’s having a bit of a down year as a shooter – he’s under 40% shooting for the first time in his career – and he’s still averaging nearly 25 points per game, while chipping in nearly seven assists and six rebounds nightly. His much maligned defense remains a flaw, but he’s such an amazing contributor offensively, it’s hard to be that bothered by what’s happening on the other end.

Prediction: The Bucks End Up Four Games Over .500, The World Is Appropriately Stunned

Categories: Game Previews

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