The Milwaukee Bucks had their first officially competitive game in over four months Friday night, and were able to prevail against the Boston Celtics to the tune of 119-112. Now they have a quick turnaround to complete the next of their (meaningless, mostly) seeding games before the playoffs roll around. They will take on everyone’s favorite team, the Houston Rockets. Hopefully Milwaukee can be a little more careful around the Rockets flopper, James Harden, than Friday night against Marcus Smart.
As previously mentioned, Milwaukee won in a tight battle against the Celtics. Things were great to start with the Bucks jumping out to a 17-2 lead. But in today’s league, that type of lead was never going to last; Milwaukee was in the lead for the majority of the game and that was on the back of their league-leading defense. There will be some last-minute calls in regards to the playing status of Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton who joined the team late due to their positive COVID results. Marvin Williams (who was out for the Celtics game) remains questionable as well.
Bucks Player to watch: Wes Matthews
Wes was quiet after the first quarter finishing with 9 points on 2/6 shooting from three. With Giannis able to get his buckets at will with Middleton and both Lopez brothers chipping in. The need for Wes to score was thankfully not as needed. He also played 27 minutes, which tied with Donte DiVincenzo for fewest minutes out of the starters. It was Matthews who had been the primary defender on James Harden in the season opener, so maybe we can expect that same strategy on Sunday with Bledsoe’s availability in the air.
Houston got an important win in an exciting overtime 153-149 against the Dallas Mavericks. Houston has already clinched a playoff spot and are battling with the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder for seeding in the Western Conference. Right now the biggest injury they have is Eric Gordon who hurt his ankle in a scrimmage against the Celtics and may not be available.
Rockets Player to watch: P.J. Tucker
The Rockets went with a degree of small ball I didn’t think was possible after trading Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks. So far its worked out relatively well, and even though he’s 6’7”, Tucker has handled the “center” role well. he did have moments of struggle against Boban Marjanovic (which is fair), and will now have the Lopez twins to deal with as well. If this experiment is going to work in this one, Tucker will need to hold his own.