Houston Rockets vs Milwaukee Bucks: X-Factor
The X-factor for the Rockets against the Milwaukee Bucks is Kevin Porter Jr. The only way the Rockets can beat the Bucks is if they take advantage of the shots the Bucks give them and take care of the ball. The Bucks are fine not forcing many turnovers if it limit’s their opponent's shot quality, and that means Porter needs to be a steady hand at point guard.
Porter has been one of the most turnover-prone players in the league. He’s tied for the league lead with Ja Morant at 3.8 turnovers per game, is fourth in bad pass turnovers (51), and eighth in lost ball (24). The only other player in both the top ten for bad pass and lost ball turnovers is Kevin Durant, but that’s in 164 more minutes and with the added bonus of him being Kevin Durant.
However, Porter’s turnover problems usually come in waves. He has ten games with three or fewer turnovers, a perfectly acceptable mark for a lead ball handler. If he can finish the game with three or fewer turnovers, while still being aggressive running the offense, then the Rockets will give themselves a chance.
The Bucks’ defense will let you shoot your heart out from mid-range. It’s clearly an effective strategy, but if someone gets hot, it can feel like a defensive frailty. Porter leads the Rockets in the percentage of his shots ten to 16 feet from the rim and is third in long twos. His efficiency in the ten to 16 feet range (44%) is good enough that if he gets it going, he’ll have a great chance to have a big night.