Game 22 Preview: Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks

I actually own this poster.

Last time, we talked about something I liked and we won. Being the slightly superstitious person that I am, we're going to keep that going, with Tron being today's topic, and my dorkdom being on the line.

That isn't to say I like Tron. The movie itself is shoddy, poorly produced, even more poorly acted, and the premise and writing are just downright abysmal.

But like these Rockets, the movie grows on you. It started with so much promise, and was even produced by Disney. The plot starts out simply enough: Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a software engineer who was great in his heyday. However, his co-worker steals his work and presents it as his own. Flynn tries to hack into the system to prove that his work has been stolen, and eventually is transported to a digital world.

This is where the Rockets season starts in my comparison. Great build up, and a feeling of "It's Us vs. the Rest of the World." No one gave Flynn credit, just as people were quiet on the Rockets in the preseason (not us, of course).

In the movie, once Flynn goes into the computer world, the graphics become and eye-sore. It's like trying to blend Technicolor and the CGI at the same time. It's ugly, just like the Rockets at the beginning of the season. But then it picks up. Slowly. Agonizingly so. But it comes together eventually, leading to a satisfying, albeit rushed, ending. 

Just like Tron, the Rockets are coming into their own. Making plays, playing together, and (Holy cow!) attempting to try this foreign action known as defense.

Is this a reach? You better believe it. But it made sense in my head. Oh, and check out the Tron: Legacy soundtrack even if you don't plan on seeing the movie. Daft Punk did the whole album, and they absolutely kill it all the way through.

Anyways, the Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a crazy win over Pacers. With 0.5 seconds left, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute tossed a pass to the rim, which Andrew Bogut tipped in as the buzzer sounded. Again, it's the kind of moment these Rockets need. The Bucks and Rockets have identical records. This is the game the Rockets have to try to steal on the road.

Let's go the matchups.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Brandon Jennings:

I didn't think Jennings would be this good. I thought the stint in Europe would help, but I'm one of those guys reluctant to pick up someone who couldn't make a minimal score on the ACT. I don't want geniuses, but I do want my players to have some kind of IQ.

Well, I was wrong. Jennings was a stud last year. He tapered off towards the end of the year, but any rookie point guard who takes his team to the playoffs is A-OK in my book. This season he's averaging 3 more points per game but it still only shooting 39%.

Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry is earning that paycheck. All he does is win right now. He gets the nod, but only because how hot he's been of late.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. John Salmons

I drafted Salmons in my fantasy league, and boy was that a mistake. He's shooting an abysmal 36% from the field. In fact, he's also shooting more poorly from the three point and free throw line this season. He's pulling a Dampier, I guess.

Meanwhile, K-Mart is still sick in both senses of the word. It may not be as apparent, but he was definitely feeling the effects of the flu on Tuesday. Yeah, 21 points on 8 shots? I wish I could be sick like that every time I played basketball. But if you've ever had the flu, you know it doesn't go away for about a week. Kudos to him for gutting it out for the team. We appreciate it.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: 

Normally Carlos Delfino would be starting, but he's out, so Mbah a Moute gets the call. The UCLA product is averaging 5/6 on 43% shooting. Does everyone on the Bucks shoot poorly? They are last in the Eastern Conference in points scored per game. On the other hand, Scott Skiles has them working hard on defense. They're only giving up 93 points per game.

Shane played through the flu just like K-Mart. We need these guys to be committed to winning in order to get out of the position we're in and get into the playoff hunt. Adelman played him 38 minutes on Tuesday and then gave him Wednesday off. Here's what he had to say:

"There was no way I planned to play him as many minutes I played him," Adelman said. "We needed him on the floor, so after the game I just told him to stay home. Shane was really hurting at the game."

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Larry Sanders:

Drew Gooden should be starting here, but he's out, so it's the Larry Sanders Show! See what I did there?

Seriously, though, Sanders is averaging 9/7 in his last three games and had 8 blocks against Denver last week. The rookie out of Virginia Commonwealth is looking pretty good.

Beast mode Scola, not to be confused with God mode Scola, is still pretty good. I'll take beast mode every day of the week. In actuality, the Rockets have solved their fourth quarter woes with the simple pick-and-roll. With how well Lowry has been getting to the cup and how nicely Scola's jumpers are looking, the pick-and-roll should serve us well until AB and Yao come back and we can go into clear-out mode.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Andrew Bogut:

Ah, the only real advantage for the Bucks. The Bucks center is averaging almost 20 points and 14 rebounds per game over his last five with 3.3 blocks and 1.3 steals. Not to mention that he's shooting 48% from the field. He's arguably the second-best center in the league.

Chuck Hayes is not as tall as Bogut. That's all I've got.

Advantage: Bucks

---

Bench:

Bucks: Keyon Dooling, Corey Maggette, Elya Ilyasova, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jon Brockman

Rockets: Ishmael Smith, Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Chase Budinger, and featuring special guest Jermaine Taylor!

Advantage: 

Injuries:

Bucks: Drew Gooden out, Carlos Delfino out

Rockets: Brooks out, Yao out

Prediction: Rockets need this one, so they'll give it away

Rockets vs Bucks coverage

Brew Hoop

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