Houston Rockets vs. Bucks: A possible NBA Finals matchup on deck

Houston Rockets guard James Harden and center Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden and center Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets will take on the Milwaukee Bucks, a team they quite haven’t figured out just yet. Could this be the NBA Finals preview? Let’s look.

The Houston Rockets are undefeated….inside the NBA bubble in Orlando as they took down the Dallas Mavericks in what was a thrilling win to restart the season. Giving up 149 points isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but hey, a win’s a win and you edge closer to getting a higher seed in the gauntlet referred to as the Western Conference.

Tonight’s game could be summarized as a potential NBA Finals preview as the Houston Rockets prepare to square off against the #1 seed in the East led by possibly two-time NBA MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.


Time: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Location: Disney Wide World of Sports – Orlando, Fla.
TV: ABC and AT&T SportsNet
Odds: Bucks -3.5

What to look for:

This is a matchup featuring two teams that are a complete opposite of one another and it will be interesting to see how Mike D’Antoni plans on attacking and defending the Bucks.

Last time these two teams met up it was on opening night as the Bucks beat the Rockets 117-111. Obviously, that was 10 months ago (crazy right?) and that was when the Rockets were still trying to figure out how to insert Russell Westbrook into the lineup.

Since then, the Rockets have acquired defensive ace Robert Covington and Westbrook has completely meshed into this system and is playing really good basketball for this team.

Because of shipping away Clint Capela and acquiring Robert Covington who is 6-foot-7, the Rockets are the smallest team in NBA by a wide margin and look to kill their opponents swiftly

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with the speed, quickness, and three-point shot. In contract, the Bucks are a more physical team with an emphasis on glass cleaning and size. They are truly an Eastern Conference team as they are geared for a battle inside the arch, where it tends to be more physical.

The Bucks have big men like Robin Lopez who is an enforcer inside the arch. However, Mike D’Antoni needs to exploit their weakness, which is having their big men defend on the perimeter.

Lopez might struggle in this type of game and it will be interesting to see if the Bucks attempt to go fight fire with fire and come out in a “smaller” lineup featuring Giannis at the Center position. CBS Sports wrote an article stating that Milwaukee’s secret weapon is Giannis at the five, so tonight might be one of those nights Mike Budenholzer plays his best cards.

James Harden on Friday night did James Harden things as it looked like he did not miss a step after the lockdown. He finished off with 49 points while shooting 14-for-20 from the field and 3-for-9 from beyond the outside stripe. However, it was guys like Danuel House that made key contributions to the last win. House played 43 minutes and put up 20 points on the scoreboard. If you are facing a team like the Bucks, it will truly take everyone to make their contributions as I’m sure Mike D’Antoni would like to see that again from his roster.


Will math win or will physicality win? That is the true question while trying to pick winner for the game tonight.

If math wins, that means that the Rockets were lights out from the floor and small ball worked again against another powerhouse team. If physicality wins, that means that the big men for the Bucks were too much for Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker to handle down low.

dark. Next. Rockets: P.J. Tucker should be allowed to retire with team

I think physicality will win here tonight. It will be extremely difficult to contain Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe for four quarters and the size on that roster plus the depth on the bench might be the difference.

Final Score: Bucks 110 – Rockets 104