The Milwaukee Bucks are undefeated! Sure, it’s only been one game, but the term is worth using for as long as it applies. Tonight, the Bucks are kicking off a six-game home stand, their longest of the season, welcoming the Houston Rockets to town for the first contest.
Where We’re At
There’s no better way to start the regular season – after an 0-5 performance in exhibition play – than by slogging out a 90-88 victory over an Eastern Conference rival. The Bucks’ win over the Sixers was another showcase of the “championship grit” that we’ve become accustomed to over the last couple of years, as well as an instance of the team getting up for a respected opponent. Historically, the Bucks’ effort wanes when playing a younger, less proven team...which is exactly the type of opponent Milwaukee faces tonight.
As is often the case with a team that has gone in the tank to accumulate talent, the Rockets are young and less proven, but are not to be overlooked. There’s a lot of developing talent on this team...a lot. How much, you ask? Houston currently carries only two players who have four years of experience or more: Eric Gordon and Boban Marjanovic. There’s more birthdates after 2000 than before, which is pretty freaky depending on when yours falls. That recipe doesn’t land you in the playoffs often, and Rockets fans aren’t expecting much other than another trip to the lottery. Are they a contender for the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes? If you ask their fans, the answer is “probably, but not likely.” From The Dream Shake:
The Rockets will be more exciting and more cohesive this year. They will also be a better team. Expect Jalen Green to take that leap and Jabari Smith, despite the occasional growing pain, look like the guy most expected to go first overall leading up to the draft. They’re going to surprise some teams with their length, speed and athleticism. That being said, they’ll still be in the back half of the standings, but I don’t think pushing 30 wins is out of the range of possibility.
Player To Watch
Any mention of the Houston Rockets will have Bucks fans thinking back to when Kevin Porter Jr. dropped 50 on them, and those who haven’t heard about the Bucks’ defense hugging up more on the three-point line might be nervous about the deja vu. But Porter Jr. likely won’t command possessions the same way this time around; Houston has too many other players who need the minutes and opportunities which, at a certain point, will come at Porter Jr’s expense. Has the volatile combo guard developed the maturity to handle the prospect of getting deprioritized in Houston’s developmental pecking order? An early season matchup in Milwaukee might not matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a storyline worth following.
Game 2: Against Houston, the Bucks will...
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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)
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