The Milwaukee Bucks could not snap the Houston Rockets’ now 13 game winning streak, dropping tonight’s contest 115-111. In a match-up that featured the top two scorers in the NBA, James Harden quietly led the way with 31 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 28.
The Bucks came out in the first half and matched the Rockets as well as any team has the past few weeks, and entered the halftime break all tied up at 55. The Bucks held the Rockets to 21 percent three-point shooting and never trailed by more than seven points in the first 24 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, Houston’s cold shooting did not carry over into the second half. The Rockets shot 51 percent from the field and were able to just simply not miss any of their shots down the stretch and were eventually able to dispose of the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo tallied 10 of his 28 points in the first half, including this thunderous dunk off of a steal:
Giannis makes it look effortless pic.twitter.com/Vsr6cMY5Hs— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) December 17, 2017
Giannis was unable to impose his will on the Rockets throughout the game but showed his flash in spurts. He finished with a lackluster 45 percent shooting night from the floor, including a doughnut from three-point range, going zero for three. Antetokounmpo was one rebound away from collecting his 15th double-double on the season.
Malcolm Brogdon had himself a great game off the bench. The reigning rookie of the year’s final stat line of 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists were valuable contributions off the bench—he even added two blocks just for good measure. Brogdon has looked more and more comfortable coming off the bench as he seems to be acclimating nicely to his new role.
As mentioned above, James Harden had a quiet 31 point game, but you would not believe that from reading his stat line. The Beard’s impact was not deterred by DeAndre Liggins being inserted into the starting lineup, but more from Harden being a game-time decision with a knee injury. Despite an awful first half, Chris Paul finished with 25 points and helped ice the game in Houston’s favor down the stretch. Nene filled in for an injured Clint Capela and looked like he was back in a Denver Nuggets powder blue jersey, finishing with 16 points and four rebounds.
Stat That Stood Out
The Bucks committed 34 fouls on the night which is equal to the number of free throws that the Rockets made. Houston went 34/42 from the charity stripe and they needed all of the free points they could get as their three-point shooting was not able to carry them like usual. The added caution of key players being in foul trouble allowed Houston to aggressively penetrate Milwaukee down the stretch. The aggressive approach led to open mid-range jumpers, three-point shots, and even more free throws.