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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets Preview: Deer looking for fourth straight win

Will Dillon Brooks poke another bear?

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Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up a busy weekend with a meeting against the Houston Rockets at Fiserv Forum. This is the first of two games between the Bucks and Rockets this season, and the teams will clash again in the Lone Star State on January 6th.

Where We’re At

After suffering a devastating loss in the In-Season Tournament Semifinal against the Indiana Pacers last Thursday, the Bucks have taken care of business—and then some. They have won their last three games, which included Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring a career-high and franchise-record 64 points against those same Pacers and a complete and total beatdown of the Detroit Pistons (although that isn’t much of a brag at this point). The Bucks have been carried by an elite offensive output in the last month, and the squad has scored 120+ points in seven of its last 10 games (they’re 7-0 in said games). Giannis has officially crammed himself into yet another MVP conversation this season, averaging 32.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

With 22 games under their belt, the Rockets come into this matchup as one of the league’s pleasant surprises. After the Stephen Silas era saw the team win 17, 20, and 22 games in three consecutive seasons, Houston was born again under first-year coach Ime Udoka. Over those dreadful three years, they were sometimes labeled an “AAU team,” due to their tendency to give rookies and youngsters excessive minutes, seemingly under the expectation that they’d magically start winning at some point. After that strategy failed miserably, Udoka’s squad has bulked up with veteran influences like Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, and Aaron Holiday. These additions have paid immediate dividends, and the team sits at 13-9. Houston doesn’t have an offensive juggernaut like Giannis or Dame, but they still have a deep roster that can hang with the league’s elite (seriously, they’re 3-1 against the defending-champion Denver Nuggets this year). Third-year Turkish phenom Alperen Şengün has been their most productive scorer, averaging 19.7 per contest, but Jalen Green and VanVleet aren’t too far behind, tallying 17.8 and 16.4 respectively.

Injury Report

Khris Middleton was out on Saturday against Detroit for rest purposes, but he is expected to return to the lineup against Houston. Malik Beasley was sidelined with a non-COVID illness, but he is also expected to play. Jae Crowder remains inactive as his rehab from an adductor and abdominal tear continues.

For the Rockets, Jae’Sean Tate and Amen Thompson are both listed as questionable with illnesses. Victor Oladipo has been out with a knee injury, but is expected to return for Sunday’s game.

Player To Watch

Let’s see what Bobby Portis can do tonight. He had a season-high 31 points against the Pistons. You may say, “Yeah Michael, but that came against the Pistons,” which seems like a valid counterpoint. But not so fast, my friend! Bobby has been on a bit of a sneaky run as of late. In his last three games, he has averaged 22.3 points per game. More surprisingly, he has shot 57% from three in that three game stretch. If he’s out there for more than 25 minutes, we could be in for another big outing. Bobby truthers rejoice!

How To Watch

Bally Sports WI at 6:00 p.m. CST.


Game 25: against the Rockets, the Bucks will...

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