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Rapid Recap: Bucks 116, Rockets 109

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The Bucks trim the Beard

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Before we begin this magnificent recap regaling you with stories of how the Milwaukee Bucks took down the Houston Rockets 116-109, let’s just enjoy this play one more time.

Despite a quiet offensive first quarter for Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks trailed by only 3, 29-26 heading into the second. James Harden started his hot streak in the second, drawing some questionable calls on the Bucks during his 3-point attempts, and Milwaukee entered halftime down 60-54. The Rockets continued to stroke it from deep, but the Bucks closed the third quarter on a 9-0 run to enter the fourth ahead, 92-83. Despite Harden’s sweet shooting bringing the Rockets back into the game late, Milwaukee managed to prevail with clutch buckets down the stretch.

Giannis Antetokounmpo faced plenty of adversity at the rim from the Houston Rockets tonight, frequently seeing defenders thrown at him as he worked to find his teammates around the court. Still, what seemed like a quiet offensive night exploded into another monster stat line, 27 points, 21 rebounds and five assists.

Malcolm Brogdon provided an efficient partner to Giannis tonight, bullying the Rockets on straight line drives en route to 24 points on 9-12 shooting. Sterling Brown proved a pivotal bench piece tonight, nabbing 13 points on a high volume, for him, 12 shots. Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton both fell quiet offensively, going a combined 10-25 from the field for 25 combined points.

James Harden proved every bit the reigning MVP tonight, nailing clutch threes throughout the night to keep Houston hanging to the very end, going off for 42 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Gerald Green added 16 points to give Harden some help while Clint Capela was the other support system at 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Stat that Stood Out

While the Rockets had a clear advantage from deep (18 3-pointers made to Milwaukee’s 8), the Bucks found ways to win without having to attempt numerous shots from around the arc. Houston’s switchability means it was tougher to always get deep shots off, but it did create mismatches that allowed the Bucks to find paths to the paint, where they outscored the Rockets 70-24. In addition, a 19-2 fast break point advantage illustrated how Milwaukee’s rapid pace helped them find quick scores without having to labor in the frontcourt.