Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

After demonstrating one of the worst meltdowns in NBA history, the Houston Rockets look to bounce back when they host the lowly Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night, losers of 15 of their last 17.

The Rockets (26-15) shot 60 percent from behind the arc in Thursday’s nationally televised game, and scored a season high 73 points in the first half against title contending Oklahoma City.  After taking a 14 point lead into halftime, Houston was unable to continue their offensive production, scoring only 19 second-half points and losing 104-92.  The 54 point scoring differential set a NBA record for largest between two halves.

The Bucks (7-31) will compete for their first win in 2014, after dropping the previous 7 January contests.  Milwaukee’s last win came against the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year’s Eve.  Promising sophomore guard Brandon Knight leads his team in scoring this season, averaging 15.4 ppg, while Ersan Ilyasova leads the squad with just over 1 steal per game.  Milwaukee kept it close with the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night, but fell short 82-77 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.  The Bucks remain winless against teams with winning records this season.

The Rockets hope to break even on the second game of this 5-game home stand, and avoid playing down to their competition, a problem they’ve faced thus far this season.  Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM at the Toyota Center, and can be seen on CSN Houston and heard on 790AM.

The Matchups

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Brandon Knight

Knight leads his team in scoring and assists, while coming off a 27 pt. performance against Memphis.

Edge: Even

Shooting Guard: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. James Harden

Harden’s coming off a bad game, but still remains one of the league’s top scoring threats. Antetokounmpo doesn’t take a lot of shots, and is only averaging 6.8 ppg.

Edge: Rockets

Small Forward: Khris Middleton vs. Chandler Parson

Middleton is listed as day-to-day, and is only shooting 43% from the floor.  Chandler is averaging 17 ppg and looked to be near full speed against OKC.

Edge: Rockets

Power Forward: Ersan Ilyasova vs. Terrence Jones

Jones is coming off a solid game in which he accounted for 16 points and 13 rebounds, while shooting 50% from the floor. He has been a reliable contributor in the 4 spot all season.

Edge: Rockets

Center: Larry Sanders vs. Dwight Howard

Dwight had an unproductive night Thursday, only scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 boards. Look for him to have a bounce back game against the smaller, outmatched Sanders.

Bench:

Rockets – Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Isaiah Canaan, Donatas Montiejunas, Aaron Brooks

Bucks – Luke Ridnour, Caron Butler, O.J. Mayo, Miroslav Raduljica

Edge: Rockets

Injuries

Rockets – Omer Asik (OUT), Patrick Beverley (OUT); Greg Smith (DTD); Aaron Brooks (DTD); Chandler Parsons (DTD)

Bucks – Khris Middleton (DTD), Carlos Delfino (OUT); John Henson (OUT)

Prediction – Rockets 112 – 94

Topics: Houston Rockets, Preview

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