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The Rockets need to keep the Bucks out of the paint

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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In order for the Houston Rockets to win their 17th consecutive game, they’ll need to keep the Milwaukee Bucks out of the paint.

After a big win in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, the Rockets have to make the trip to Milwaukee for another game on Wednesday night. Fortunately, Houston is 6-3 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

The Rockets and the Bucks faced off back on Dec. 16 in Houston, and the Rockets took that game 115-111. Clint Capela sat out of that contest, but James Harden came up with 31 points and Chris Paul chipped in 25 to lead the Rockets to a win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points and 9 rebounds in that game. The Greek Freak is having a career season, averaging 27.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists as he has emerged as a top 10 player.

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P.J. Tucker will definitely have his hands full on defense, as Giannis is taller, quicker and longer. Giannis’ combination of athleticism and length allow him to get in to the lane and score 15.8 points in the paint per game, which leads the NBA.

For Houston, their main objective in this game is to limit Milwaukee’s points in the paint. The Bucks are 11th in points in the paint (45.4) and they’re fifth in free throws made per game (18.5).

Milwaukee is a horrendous 3-point shooting team, as they’re just 28th in 3-pointers made per game (8.6) and 24th in 3-point percentage (35.2).

If the Rockets are able to pack the paint and limit turnovers, the Bucks will struggle to score enough points to win. Milwaukee has put together a modern NBA team with a roster full of long, athletic, position-less players, but they haven’t figured out how to make the deep ball at a high percentage yet.

Injuries

For Houston, Ryan Anderson is doubtful with a sore hip. Joe Johnson is out with an illness and Brandan Wright is out with a sore right knee.

Next: Best Twitter reactions to the Rockets win over the Thunder

For the Bucks, Malcolm Brogdon is out with a left quad tendon. Matthew Dellavedova is out with a sore right ankle and Mirza Teletovic is out due to blood clots.

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