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Houston Rockets: Top two MVP candidates square off tonight

By Michael Knight
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 07: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives around James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during a game at the Bradley Center on March 7, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 07: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives around James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during a game at the Bradley Center on March 7, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets will look to win yet again, this time against another MVP candidate leading his team to a good season so far.

The Houston Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks are arguably the two hottest teams in the league right now. They are both 8-2 in their last 10 games and have likely the top two candidates for Most Valuable Player: James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

James Harden has forced his way into the conversation after averaging nearly 40 points a game for the last month while still being one of the top assist guys in the league. He is carrying the Rockets without Chris Paul and has recent wins over teams like the Warriors, Nuggets and Thunder, to name a few.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is also having quite the dominating season. He is doing it all without the ability to shoot from 3, something that is remarkable. He is the definition of “unguardable” and has led the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the East so far. He will get all the focus of the Rockets as they try to at least slow him down.

Tough task on both ends

It will be a tough matchup for the Rockets on both ends of the court. The Bucks have been elite this year, owning the No. 4 offense in the league and the No. 3 defense. While the Rockets have found success against top defenses lately (Celtics, Thunder, Nuggets), the length of the Bucks might be troublesome.

Milwaukee will likely throw multiple guys, like Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, at James Harden in this one. They are both solid defenders, especially Brogdon, so Harden will have to try to embarrass more good players on that end of the court.

For the Rockets, Coach D’Antoni stated that P.J. Tucker and Danuel House will be tasked with Giannis Antetokounmpo. There is only so much you can do, but if they at least can slow him down, that’s a success. The Jazz the other night threw Rudy Gobert at Giannis some with some success (he still went off). Could the Rockets try to guard him with Clint Capela at times? He can’t shoot, so Capela would be able to sag off of him.

How Austin Rivers has helped save the Rockets. Next

Tonight’s game will certainly be a fun one to watch with two of the best teams in the league squaring off. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN but will also be on AT&T SportsNet if you don’t want to hear the anti-Harden comments.

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