Game Preview: Rockets vs. Bucks (8/2)

Winner: Bucks

Offense (Bucks): The Milwaukee Bucks have one of the best offenses in the league. They rank in the top 10 in FG (1), FGA (3), FG% (2), 3P (5), 3PA (4), 2P (8), 2P% (1), FTA (7), AST (7), and PTS (2). The Bucks ran their offense at one of the fastest paces in the league, which explains why they are in the top 5 for field goals attempted, 3 pointers attempted, and points. One area they need to work on is their team free throw percentage and they ranked 25th in the league with a 74.4% team free throw percentage.

The Bucks' offense runs through MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is the reason why the offense plays at one of the fastest paces in the league. Giannis is always looking to push the ball after getting a rebound and he is unstoppable around the rim. Giannis pretty much plays point guard for the Bucks as he averages the most assists per game on the team with 5.8 to go along with his 29.8 points per game and 13.8 rebounds per game. Khris Middleton is the second option on this team and perfectly compliments Giannis because he is a threat to score from anywhere. He's shooting 69% around the rim, 46% on 3-10 foot shots, 51% on 10-16 foot shots, 54% on 16 foot-3 point shots, and 41% on shots behind the arc. The rest of this team is filled with deadly shooters to offset Giannis' lack of shooting with Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, and George Hill.

Defense (Bucks): The Milwaukee Bucks have one of the best defenses in the league to go along with their top offense. The Bucks own 5 of the top 10 defensive rating leaders in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo (1st), Brook Lopez (2nd), Donte DiVincenzo (3rd), Eric Bledsoe (7th), and Khris Middleton (9th). Brook Lopez is 2nd in the league in blocks per game with 2.5. The Bucks as a team are 6th in points allowed, 1st in FG%, and 5th in free throws attempted. An area they need to improve is their 3's allowed and made where they rank dead last in the league. They are going to have to do a better job of guarding the three against the sharpshooting Rockets.

Offense (Rockets): This game is going to feature 2 of the best offenses in the league. The Houston Rockets are a very different team because of their micro-ball style of play. P.J. Tucker is 6 foot 5 and plays center. They rank in the top 5 in the league in 3's made and attempted (1), 2P% (2), free throws made and attempted (2), and points (1). The Rockets, like the Bucks, play at one of the fastest paces in the league. Unlike the Bucks, they do not shoot a lot of 2s. They are 30th in 2s attempted and 29th in 2s made.

The Rockets' entire offense is predicated around 3s and layups. Russell Westbrook is the only player on the team to have over 30% of his shots come from mid-range. The Rockets have 10 players on the roster that over 50% of their shots come from 3. P.J. Tucker, James Harden, Daniel House, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Chris Clemons, and Jeff Green all shoot over 35% from 3. The offense runs through James Harden and Russell Westbrook. James Harden averages 34.6 points and 7.4 assists per game and Russell Westbrook averages 27.5 points and 7.0 assists per game. Coach Mike D'Antoni likes to stagger Westbrook and Harden a bit where one plays and the other doesn't. He likes to play a heavy iso and drive and kick style offense that allows them to shoot a lot of threes and layups.

Defense (Rockets): The Houston Rockets' defense is not very good. They are only top 10 in the league in turnovers forced, and that makes sense because they are forced to double team a lot. The Milwaukee Bucks are not the team you want to double against as they have so many shooters that can punish you. The Rockets have 7 players who average over 1 steal per 36 minutes in James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Russell Westbrook, Danuel House, Austin Rivers, Robert Covington, and Jeff Green. Most of the steals come off of double teams where the ball is poked loose and the Rockets pick it up.

X Factor: Donte DiVincenzo

In their first game against the Celtics, Donte DiVincenzo got the starting point guard role due to Eric Bledsoe still being in quarantine. In that role, he played in 26 minutes and had 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. While Bledsoe will likely be back and cut into DiVincenzo's playing time, Donte DiVincenzo does things that don't show up in the box score. He is 8th in the league in steal percentage, 3rd in the league in defensive rating, and 5th in defensive box plus/minus. Donte DiVincenzo will add some much-needed defense against a team that they will have to play very good defense against.

Who do you think will win this game? Let me know in the comments!

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