As the NBA remains in tumult with the constant cycling in of players to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the games go on, with the Milwaukee Bucks back in action for the first time since Saturday, this time taking on the Houston Rockets. This is their second matchup of the season.
Where We’re At
The dominant story across the league is of course the rapid spread of COVID-19. They’ve adopted new rules to accommodate teams adding new players, much to the chagrin of the Wisconsin Herd who have seen multiple players poached in the past week. It’s all quiet on the Milwaukee front though, with no additions to the roster as of publication. On top of that, it seems as if they’re hopeful they might be on the upswing.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Donte DiVincenzo, and Bobby Portis are all still listed as OUT (health and safety protocols). https://t.co/eIGf3OTtKE— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 21, 2021
Wesley Matthews leaving the protocols is a boon for a team that just played an 8-man rotation that featured two two-way starters and was promptly squashed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 119-90. Frankly, the less said about that game, the better. Plus, Semi Ojeleye, Rodney Hood and Thanasis Antetokounmpo aren’t on the injury report. Not exactly the trio you’d like to see, but still nice to have a cleaner list than some teams. Hopefully Portis, Giannis and Donte can recover fully, and quickly. The most important name not listed on there, Khris Middleton. My guess is he may only play one of this Houston game or their game tomorrow against Dallas, but we’ll see.
As for Houston, they’ve eked out just one win since Milwaukee snapped their winning streak, settling them down a bit from the spitfire they were on as they revert back to playing for tankathon.com each night. Still, they posed some challenges for Milwaukee last time out, especially the 3-point stylings of Garrison Mathews. He’s definitely one of those, “would love to have, hate to play against,” type of players. We know the Rockets drill by now, playing fast, shooting threes and shots at the rim, the same diet that’s been their forte for some time now. The Bucks will need to run them off the line better and defend Alperen Sengun at the rim.
Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are out with injuries, while old friend Christian Wood is questionable.
Player to Watch
Sengun was a madman last time against Milwaukee, dizzying defenders with a series of slow-footed pivot moves and up-and-unders. It was a masterclass display in methodical footwork, and incredibly maddening at the same time. It also send DeMarcus Cousins packing quickly with foul trouble, which isn’t a great sign when he’s one of your few frontcourt options. I expect Sengun to eat inside, hopefully the Bucks can find a better counter.
Game 33: Against Houston, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)