Houston Rockets vs Milwaukee Bucks

It's a battle between two prospective MVP-candidates when James Harden leads his Houston Rockets against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, March 26th at 8:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI. Broadcast is available via TNT and AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest; radio is available via 790 AM.

How to Watch

What: Houston Rockets vs Milawaukee Bucks

Where: Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI

When: Tuesday, March 26th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT, AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest | 790 AM

Houston Rockets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike D'Antoni {All-Time 622-497 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Expected Starting Lineup: (G) Chris Paul, G James Harden, (G) Eric Gordon, (F) P.J. Tucker, (C) Clint Capela

The Houston Rockets have clinched the playoffs and are now tuning their performance to meet the standards of the post-season. With a record of 47-27 the Rockets sit third in the Western Conference, but hold only a one game advantage over the fourth seed Portland Trail Blazers.

The Rockets currently own a two-game win streak, having most recently defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in a 113-90 blowout. Over their last ten the Rockets have gone 8-2, losing to only the Warriors and Grizzlies in that span of time by two-points or less.

The Houston Rockets will take on a red-hot Milwaukee Bucks team that are closing in on clinching first in the Eastern Conference. While the Bucks own some key injuries to players at the moment, the versatility and dominance of the Greek Freak is nothing the Rockets can take lightly.

Milwaukee Bucks (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer {All-Time 268-216 | ATL, MIL}

Expected Starting Lineup: (G) Eric Bledsoe, (G) Tony Snell, (F) Khris Middleton, (F) Giannis Antetokounmpo, (C) Brook Lopez

The Milwaukee Bucks are first in the Eastern Conference with a massive four game lead over the Toronto Raptors who are second in the East. With a record of 55-19, the Bucks have the best record in the NBA and will likely clinch top billing in the conference.

The Milwaukee Bucks are on a passable two-game win streak, despite the loss of three key players to injury. They are 7-3 in their last ten matches, but will look to capitalize on the Houston Rockets before they go on a short three-game road trip that will likely secure their season.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be facing off against a Houston Rockets team that is trying to hold off some of their other Western Conference competitors. While inconsistency has defined Houston's season, the one mainstay is the Rockets' James Harden. The Bucks can't allow the NBA's top scorer to dictate the flow and will surely throw multiple defenders at him.

What's At Stake?

The Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks have been competitive in their 126 game all-time series. The Bucks are currently on top, leading the Rockers 68-58.

A win for the Milwaukee Bucks would give them a 4.5 game lead over the Toronto Raptors who trail them at second in the Eastern Conference.

A win for the Houston Rockets would give them a 1.5 game lead over the Trail Blazers who currently trail them in fourth place.

Questions to answer

Can PJ Tucker lead the Rockets defence alone?

What is behind Eric Bledsoe's outside shooting?

We are going to compare the Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Tucker Is Houston's Defensive Rock

The Houston Rockets are not a team that is famed for their defensive prowess. They are 23rd in field-goal percentage allowed and are 27th in two-point field-goal percentage allowed. They smartly run opponents off the line, to the tune of a third place ranking in three-point field-goal percentage allowed. Contrary to that trend though, is PJ Tucker.

The lynchpin of the Houston Rockets defence, the Texas alumni PJ Tucker is one of the NBA's best defenders. He epitomized the three-and-D play style with his incredible defensive play and accuracy from behind the arc. It is amazing to consider he was once cut as a 21 year-old rookie in 2006, only to become one of the leagues most valuable assets in 2019.

While he is no way responsible for the teams defence, Tucker is always faced with the oppositions most dangerous offensive player. Against the Bucks he will be taking on the Greek Freak, who dwarfs him in size and speed. His bruising defensive style will surely wear on the Bucks star, but it will be up to his teammates to make up for the final execution of their defensive set to top the Bucks as a whole.

Eric Bledsoe is Struggling From Range

One of the NBA's most exciting and infuriating players, Eric Bledsoe can bring both All-Star level play and low-level performances almost at the turn of a possession. Most recently, Bledsoe has been struggling to convert from range in a very curious change in form.

As an overall scorer, Bledsoe is still capable. He sits in the 84th percentile in effective field-goal percentage (54%), mainly from his production at the rim. Everywhere else, Bledsoe has been struggling. He is converting on only 32% from three despite shooting at the league average of 36% last season. Even worse, Bledsoe has converted on only 29% of catch-and-shoot attempts this season.

Bledsoe is without doubt talented on many ends of the court. However with Malcolm Brogdon out more pressure will be on Bledsoe to convert. Mike Budenholzer does not draw up a game plan that will cater to Bledsoe, thus the point guard will have to convert or see the bench. Wit the playoffs looming, Bledsoe will need to find his rhythm soon.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

F-C Isaiah Hartenstein - 24 Mar 2019 - Out (Achilles) - Hartenstein has been ruled OUT for Sunday's (Mar 24) game.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes

G Malcolm Brogdon - 16 Mar 2019 - Out (Heel) - Brogdon has suffered a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot and will be out indefinitely according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

G Donte DiVincenzo - 23 Mar 2019 - Out (Heel) - DiVincenzo is listed as OUT for Sunday's (Mar. 24) game.

C Pau Gasol - 23 Mar 2019 - Out (Ankle) - Gasol is expected to miss approximately one month with a left ankle injury according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

F Nikola Mitotic - 20 Mar 2019 - Out (Left thumb) - The Bucks announced F Nikola Mirotic has a fractured left thumb and is expected to miss the next two-to-four weeks.

Head-to-Head: George Hill (MIL) vs Austin Rivers (HOU)

The key matchup on this evening comes from the bench. While Antetokounmpo and Harden are sure to put on a show, the Bucks and Rockets need a leader for their supporting cast. Cue George Hill and Austin Rivers. With are playoff savvy lead guards who can direct a team and score on their own.

George Hill

Point Guard | 6-3, 188lb (190cm, 85kg) | IUPUI | Exp. 10 Years

7.0 PPG | 2.2 APG | 2.4 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 0.8 TOV | .451 FG% | .323 3P%

It is easy to get lost in the shuffle when you're George Hill. Having been swapped three times in three season, he is settling into a nice role with the Bucks. He posted an efficient 17 points on 7-8 shooting against the Cavs and the Bucks will need that efficiency going forward as Malcolm Brogdon is not expected to return for the foreseeable future.

Austin Rivers

Shooting Guard | 6-4, 200lb (193cm, 90kg) | Duke | Exp. 6 Years

8.3 PPG | 2.2 APG | 2.2 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 1.0 TOV | .406 FG% | .315 3P%

Austin Rivers came into the Houston Rockets squad looking like the spark plug they've needed, but has been inconsistent overall. He's still a solid man-defender, but he has failed to shoot consistently over 40% from the field for almost a month. Harden can carry the team in the scoring department, but some contribution from Rivers off the bench would be a massive boost for the Rockets.

Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Milwaukee Bucks favoured over the Houston Rockets by 4, with an over/under of 110.

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