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Bucks vs. Rockets Preview: Anything Must Be Better Than Losing to Chicago, Right?

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Can we all agree to forget last night?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Nope, turns out last night’s 115-109 loss to the freakin’ Chicago Bulls wasn’t just a fever dream. Milwaukee dropped a stinker in their shorts last night and can hopefully clean themselves up tonight for a clash against the high-powered Rockets.

Bucks Update

Not a whole lot needs to be said about last night’s embarrassing loss to the Bulls. Yes, Chicago is on a hot streak and recently toppled an admittedly injured Celtics team, but dropping home games against the dregs of the conference isn’t befitting of a Bucks team with loftier expectations. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton saddled up, each notching 29 points in the contest, but a frigid shooting night for Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon (8-25) couldn’t provide the complementary scoring punch. Meanwhile, the deserted park merry-go-round that is Milwaukee’s shooting guard rotation continues to squeal. Rashad Vaughn took his turn last night and cashed in with counterfeit currency, going 2-8 from deep in 28 minutes for just nine points. Shout out to Shaddy for four assists though. Milwaukee will need a considerable uptick in play if they hope to redeem themselves against Houston.

Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe has just 26 combined in his last two games after scoring 20 or more in the prior three. Bledsoe is going to be corralled by the swarming gnat that is Chris Paul. Even in his elder age, his former Clipper teammate can still hound opponents and will be doing all he can to curb Bledsoe’s production while the Rockets forwards try to power Giannis down.

Rockets Update

If there’s a team in the NBA you don’t want to face right now, it’s the Houston Rockets. A 124-109 toppling of the San Antonio Spurs pushed their winning streak to 12. Their 23-4 record is the tops in the league and it’s no secret how they are doing it: 3-point blitzkriegs and a competent defense. Their 43.6 3-point attempts per game is by and far the tops in the league, with Brooklyn second at ”just” 34 attempts/game. With a fleet of competent shooters including Paul, James Harden, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and more, they are a cross-court passing machine capable of shredding even the best defenses alive. Lets hope Milwaukee looks more like a solid block of cheddar than a hunk of holey swiss.

Player to Watch: James Harden

The MVP favorite at the moment, Harden is putting up absurd averages of 31.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 9.3 assists. His style has not been cramped by the return of Chris Paul either, who has willingly given up possessions to the point he sits with his lowest usage rate since 2010 (22.2). That tag team has been potent too, a plus-54 in 258 minutes. The you-me ball that many thought may plague these two seems to have been smoother over by the tao of D’Antoni.