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Milwaukee vs. Houston: Bucks Extinguish Rockets, 126-106

Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton pace Milwaukee in the win

NBA: Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks are back in the win column. They’d cruise to a 126-106 victory over the Houston Rockets.

In the start of the game that featured the 15th different starting lineup in 33 games for the Bucks, there’d be a bit of sluggishness for Milwaukee. The Rockets would come out shooting hotter than the Bucks (38.1% to 32%), but down the stretch, Milwaukee would close things out. A Pat Connaughton 3-pointer on the Bucks’ final possession gave them a lead that they’d secure into the second quarter, 25-24.

The Bucks would embark on a massive 15-0 run midway through the second quarter, with the highlight of it being Jordan Nwora breaking Armoni Brooks’ ankles on a step-back 3-pointer. A flurry of 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews really began to open things up and some nice shooting from Khris Middleton spread out the offense even more. At the break, Milwaukee owned a 63-50 lead.

That lead would stay in the double-digit range throughout the third quarter. Jrue Holiday began dishing and scoring his way, slicing up the Houston defense. At points, Milwaukee was flirting with a 20+ point lead. In fact, that would be where things would fall going into the final quarter of play, with the Bucks owning a 97-76 lead.

From that point on, the door was closed on Houston. They simply couldn’t match the hot shooting from Milwaukee, as the 3-pointers kept raining down for the hometown team. Things would close out with a 126-106 Bucks victory.

Jrue Holiday led the Bucks with a game-high 24 points. He’d also tally ten assists on the evening. Khris Middleton poured in 23 points. Jordan Nwora and DeMarcus Cousins provided some scoring with 18 points.

Leading Houston, Christian Wood finished with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

What Did We Learn?

After injuring his knee in Boston against the Celtics, Khris Middleton returned to the starting lineup. It felt as if he didn’t miss a beat. In 28 minutes of action, he scratched out a shooting line of 7-of-17. That’d tally 23 points. With both he and Giannis being sidelined in recent games, there were some times of tough sledding for the Bucks offense. Jrue Holiday has been trying his best to pick things up from an offensive end, but that’s a lot to ask of one player. You can tell that Bud admired the effort he gave, as he gave him multiple shoutouts in his presser. He mentioned he envisions Khris being able to play vs. Dallas and that he was happy he played at 28 minutes, but also said he could’ve gone further if he needed to.

Three Observations

DeMarcus Cousins continues to be a force, both offensively and defensively.

Boogie made multiple impacts in this one — on both ends of the floor. He’d finish with a stat line of 18 points and eight rebounds. On the defensive side of things, he’d tally just one block, but was always greeting Rockets at the rim. The value that Milwaukee has gotten from Cousins has been massive in these last few weeks. Obviously, the Bucks are missing their primary big in Brook Lopez. However, Boogie is doing quite admirable. It’ll be interesting to see what the Bucks decide do to with him come January, but for the moment, he seems to love Milwaukee and Milwaukee definitely loves him back.

Wes Matthews brought it from the offensive end.

In a game that he played following the death of his grandmother, Wes Matthews brought it. He tallied 16 points on the evening, and connected on four threes. Rather than continuing to discuss this, I’m just going to encourage you all to go watch his postgame presser. Incredible stuff.

Jordan Nwora continues to shine.

Once again, Jordan Nwora was inserted into the starting lineup — and once again, Jordan Nwora performed. He would notch 18 points on the evening, with three of them coming from an insane crossover/stepback. Not only was Nwora effective in scoring, but he also made his presence felt in snatching rebounds. He would finish just shy of a double-double, as he tallied nine boards on the night. In his postgame presser, both he and Jrue Holiday would take questions. Jrue mentioned how its the intangibles that are what’s standing out to him regarding Nwora’s performance as of late. It’s been great to see how Nwora is reacting to the opportunity he’s being presented with, and it’ll be intriguing to see how he performs when the Bucks become healthier as a team.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Early in this contest, Boogie was getting into it vs. Alperen Sengun. It made for some entertaining possessions, and who doesn’t love a fired up DeMarcus Cousins?
  • Grayson Allen ended up not playing a single minute in this game. In his postgame presser, Bud attributed that to him still not feeling 100 percent. However, it’s not Covid related, nor is it a physical injury.
  • In the first half, George Hill had a headband. In the second half, he did not. Not really a big takeaway from that or anything — just thought it was interesting.
  • I’m still in disbelief that this wasn’t called a foul:
  • You already know what I’m going to end this Extended Recap with. The Jordan Nwora ankle breaker. Just filthy stuff: