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Bucks vs. Rockets Preview: Milwaukee Hoping For Third Straight Road Win Against Red-Hot Rockets

2011/2012 NBA Season

6-10 (2-8 away) 10-7 (7-1 home)
January 25, 2012
Toyota Center
7:00 PM CT
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Brandon Jennings
PG Kyle Lowry
Shaun Livingston
SG Kevin Martin
Carlos Delfino SF Chandler Parsons
Luc Mbah a Moute PF Luis Scola
Andrew Bogut
C Samuel Dalembert

(24th) 99.6 - OFFENSE - 105.4 (9th)
(17th) 102.1 - DEFENSE - 104.5 (21st)
(9th) 92.7 - PACE - 91.2 (18th)

On the Rockets: The Dream Shake / Houston Chronicle / Clutch Fans

After losing their first eight road games of the season, the Bucks head to Houston looking for their third straight road win. It won't be easy though--while the Bucks slumped to a disappointing 97-92 loss against the Hawks at home on Monday, Houston has now won seven in a row and have lost just once in eight home games this season.

Lowry breaks out. After four middling seasons spent mostly in Memphis, Kyle Lowry has found a home in Houston. Lowry's triple-double against the Wolves was just another day at the office for the former Villanova star, who enters tonight's action averaging career highs of 16.5 ppg, 8.7 apg and 6.9 rpg on 56% true shooting. Always known as a tough defender, Lowry has become the complete package in his sixth NBA season and should give Brandon Jennings a stiff test in the backcourt. Jennings enters tonight's matchup having scored 20+ points in four straight games, the longest streak of his career.

What happened to Luis Scola? After a career year last season, Luis Scola was nearly traded to New Orleans in December and has yet to hit his stride through 17 games this season. Normally a lock to hit half his shots and rebound at a good clip, Scola's fg% is down slightly (.478) and his lack of free throws is another major reason his true shooting percentage has cratered to a mere 50% (hint: that's Brandon Jennings-in-09-10 bad). Perhaps more worryingly, his rebounding is also way down: after grabbing 14-16% of available misses the past few seasons, he's reeling in under 11% this year.

[Steve's late additions]

All hail the steady role player! Rockets second round pick Chandler Parsons has taken over as the starting small forward due in large part to struggles and lapses by Chase Budinger, and the former SEC Player of the Year has done some nice things with the opportunity. Like so many players on the Bucks' roster Parsons does many things fairly well but nothing quite at an impact level. He runs the floor, moves the ball, grabs a few rebounds and hits a few shots along the way. He's nothing particularly special, but like Jon Leuer he is a second-round steal that may never dominate but can always help achieve the goal of winning basketball games. Whomever draws Parsons on defense had better block out, or else this might happen. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. On second thought, I'm actually kind of hoping they do forget to block him out on one play...

Thank goodness for David Kahn. I've been hard on Brandon Jennings, but I still understand the alternative on draft night and thank my lucky stars David Kahn is in the NBA universe as a result. On the eve of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks knew they needed a point guard. The front office tried to decide on their man. Would they take the Oak Hill Academy product and former top-rated high school player who eschewed the University of Arizona for a professional opportunity in Italy, or the steady college product who led a very successful Syracuse team to a Sweet Sixteen run in the NCAA tournament? Bucks scouts loved the swagger and potential that Jennings flashed, but Flynn displayed leadership and a steadiness the franchise desperately needed after whiffing on Joe Alexander in the draft the previous year.

By the time draft room discussions and debates ended, the Bucks had reportedly moved Flynn ahead of Jennings on their draft board and settled on what they perceived as the safer pick. With the writing on the wall, Jennings' agent (Bill Duffy) elected to pull his client from the live draft event at the last and wait out the process in his Manhattan hotel room to avoid any embarrassment if he took a tumble in the first round without the Bucks to catch him.

Then something unexpected David Kahn happened. The Minnesota Timberwolves general manager decided to use his No. 5 pick on Ricky Rubio and then suddenly picked Jonny Flynn with the very next pick! With Flynn off the board, the Bucks simply moved on to their next highest rated player and chose Jennings at No. 10. The whole situation caught everyone by surprise. If you recall, it took a while for Duffy and Jennings to get to Madison Square Garden and execute the full David Stern handshake and hat photo tradition, so the pick really did come out of the blue. Flynn toiled away in an ill-fitting triangle offense in Minnesota, struggled to do anything well and eventually got shipped to Houston during a 2011 NBA draft-day deal. He still isn't doing anything of note, as he averages a paltry 3.6 points and 3.4 assists in 14 minutes per game this season. As you watch Flynn ride the bench, remember to thank David Kahn when you go to sleep tonight.