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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Preview: To The Moon?

Houston has won seven straight, while Milwaukee is trying to restart a new win streak.

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season marches on, and the Milwaukee Bucks are in the thick of it. Tonight the Bucks continue on their road trip and head to Texas to take on the Houston Rockets.

Where We’re At

Last year’s NBA champions are sitting (once again) in the 3rd seed of the Eastern Conference, though with less of a buffer between them and 4th after getting solidly beaten by the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Still, the Bucks have won 10 of their last 12 contests, but the road trip got off to a rough start and there are three tough games before Milwaukee can come home again.

Not off to a rough start is DeMarcus Cousins, one of the Bucks’ flashy in-season additions. As Adam noted in his Weekly Wrap-Up, Boogie has been focused on earning free throws by throwing his weight around, and it’s kept his initial stretch of games with Milwaukee trending positive. His defense isn’t there – it may never be – but he was somehow a team-high +9 against the Heat despite not scoring a single point. If he can continue to work his way into form, Cousins’ signing might be a milestone worth remembering for this Bucks team.

Meanwhile in Houston, things are going pretty well right now.

Widely expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, the Rockets are...still one of the league’s worst teams, but they’re far from the pushover they were for the opening slate of games. The Rockets actually have a better net rating than the Bucks over their last seven games (+7.2 vs. +6.8), but how much of their streak is simply hot shooting? Houston ranks 3rd in both true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage over their win streak, but on the season they’re in the bottom-third in both categories. Whether it’s a fluke or a team finding their stride, coach Stephen Silas has earned some positive attention. From The Dream Shake:

Silas has also had to manage his entire backcourt being out for multiple games and integrating players who were on the Vipers to start the year. NBA head coaches aren’t known for being flexible and willing to change (do you remember Mike D’Antoni?), so Silas changing his entire rotation and starting a player who no NBA team wanted a year ago in Garrison Mathews says something about his willingness to adapt. The ability to keep the team together despite dropping 15 straight and not losing the locker room shows that Silas can stay cool under tremendous pressure.

Houston is expected to be without guards Kevin Porter Jr, Danuel House, and rookie Jalen Green.

Player To Watch

There are a few fun players in Houston with Milwaukee ties (Christian Wood, DJ Augustin, sort-of-former Buck Kevin Porter Jr.) but tonight our attention will focus on rookie big man Alperen Sengun. Like most rookies, Sengun is generally bad with flashes of tantalizing talent.

How will he hold up against Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is clear of the injury report and coming off a loss against Miami? He’s probably going to get a rude introduction to the Greek Freak, which is worth watching by itself.



Poll

Game 27: Against Houston, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (61 votes)
  • 27%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (36 votes)
  • 20%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (26 votes)
  • 5%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (7 votes)
130 votes total Vote Now

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