Preview: Bucks at Rockets
The Houston Rockets just took out the top team in the Western Conference and will try to prove once again that it can knock off one of the best in the East when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. The Rockets won for the 12th time in the last 14 games when James Harden put together another virtuoso offensive performance in a 125-113 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
Harden reached 30 points in his 13th straight game with 32 on Monday but did his best work passing out of double teams while handing out 14 assists. “They for sure trapped me, for sure had two on the ball every possession,” Harden told reporters. “It feels like every single game, I see a double-team or two on the ball mostly every possession. So, I’ve got to figure out ways to impact the game, figure out ways to not only score, but get guys involved.” The Bucks own the fewest losses in the NBA (11) and are winners of 10 of their last 12 after finishing off a six-game homestand with a 114-102 triumph over Utah. Milwaukee will play 13 of its next 18 games on the road leading into the All-Star break and is a middling 9-7 away from home so far this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), AT&T SportsNet southwest (Houston)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (28-11): Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo led with 30 points and 10 rebounds on Monday despite being guarded by 7-1 center Rudy Gobert. “Obviously, he’s one of the best defenders in the league,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “Defensive player of the year last year. He can contest every shot. But I was trying to get to my spots. Trying to shoot over him. He’s tough.” Antetokounmpo helped make up for an off night from point guard Eric Bledsoe, who was held to six points on 3-of-11 shooting while committing six turnovers against Utah.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (23-16): The beneficiary of several of Harden’s assists on Monday was center Clint Capela, who scored a career-high 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting. “From the defense that they gave us, whenever I’m under the rim and you put a little on me, what’s going to happen is that 99 (to) 100 percent of the time, I’m gonna dunk the ball,” Capela told reporters. “So, that’s what happened tonight. I did a good job of finishing aggressive under the rim. That’s the kind of game that I wanted to have. It means a lot.” Capela is averaging a career-high 17.6 points on 63.9 percent shooting while anchoring the defense and grabbing 12.8 rebounds.
1. Rockets PF P.J. Tucker went 7-of-11 from 3-point range on Monday en route to 21 points after going scoreless in a loss at Portland in the previous game.
2. Bucks C Thon Maker scored a season-high 15 points in 18 minutes off the bench on Monday.
3. Houston took both meetings last season.