Cleat Geeks

Bucks Have Long Range Problems

Houston we have a long range problem here. That likely could have been a statement of the Milwaukee Bucks in Friday night’s 102-98 loss to the Houston Rockets in the third game of the Bucks four game road trip. The Bucks did many good things in the game but were unable to win largely because of too much James Harden and too many Rockets three pointers. The loss was the first on the four game road trip for the Bucks who also had their three game win streak snapped.GregMonroe

The Bucks did plenty of good things in several areas in this game. They had assists on 30 of their 39 field goals. They shot a better overall field goal percentage and free throw percentage then the Rockets. They outrebounded the Rockets 48 to 42 and they killed the Rockets on points in the paint by a score of 58 to 42.

This game followed a similar pattern that repeated throughout the night. The Rockets would open a lead with their face paced wide open attack. They would hit some three pointers or get offensive rebounds that they would use to kick out for three pointers. The Bucks would call a well-placed time-out. After that time-out they would cut the deficit down sometimes to as low as one point. The Rockets would then reopen the lead with another run to put the Bucks behind by 12 to 13 points. This pattern occurred three or four times during the course of the game.

BucksMiddletonJames Harden was the best player on the floor for the majority of this game. The final line of Harden for the night read: 30 points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals and only two turnovers. With Dwight Howard missing the game with an injury the Rockets needed a big game from Harden. Harden did what the Rockets needed him to do by scoring 21 of those 30 points in the first half.

Harden also contributed to the other biggest issue for the Bucks on Friday night 15 of Hardens 30 points were scored via three pointers. On the night the Rockets outscored the Bucks via the three point line 45 to nine. The Bucks did not give in and concede tonight they kept fighting and trying to repeatedly get back in the game but the three point differential proved to be too much to overcome.

Kris Middleton and Greg Monroe led the way for the Bucks with 21 points each. Teams like the Rockets and Warriors are bad match-ups for the Bucks because of the amount of long balls that they put up in a given night. The Rockets put up for 44 long balls and scored 15 of them. Both of those are well over the Rockets averages for the season. Without Howard in the game the Rockets played a faster pace and launched more long balls then they normally do. This is not a bad loss for the Bucks as they gave a very good showing and were in this game till the final seconds.

The Bucks conclude their four game road trip on Saturday night with a visit to see Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. A win would give them a 3-1 record on the trip.

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