Houston Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks game preview

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

The Rockets take on the Bucks with a chance to pick up a road win and extend their two-game winning streak.

Rockets vs Bucks coverage

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This is a big game, make no mistake.

These are the kinds of games that playoff teams have to win, especially in the West. Both teams are coming off one day of rest. But both teams are pretty similar.

For the Bucks, they're coming off losses to the Pistons and Spurs. They need to right the ship and are 16-14. This is a big game for them.

For the Rockets, they're coming off two home wins after getting trounced by the West's elite. They've been below average on the road, and need a win to keep the momentum alive and to send a message to the league and even themselves that they're for real. This is a big game for them, too.

Tip off is at 7:30pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Brandon Jennings

This matchup will be fun. Two point guards going at each other for a whole game? Sign me up.

Jennings is shooting 35% from three, but just 43% from two. Interesting.

Advantage: Even

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Monta Ellis

I want to give this to Harden, who's been playing incredibly the last couple of weeks. But it's hard to forget all the times that Ellis has driven straight into the lane, gotten clobbered, then made some stupid shot that he just threw up and get the foul.

In a lot of ways, he's like Harden. He doesn't have the passing abilities, but the knack for scoring is there.

Advantage: Even

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Mike Dunleavy

Maqruis Daniels starts, but Dunleavy plays more.

What is wrong with Chandler Parsons? He passed up a 1-on-1 fast break at a crucial time and seemed mostly disinterested against the Hornets. He did come alive in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets need him to be himself for 48 minutes, not 12.

Advantage: Bucks

Power Forward: Marcus Morris vs. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

This is the one place where I think the Rockets have a clear advantage, and it's not even that clear. I'll never forget how Mbah a Moute was a part of Heartbreak City.

Also, I'm loving this competition between Morris and Patterson. It's great for the team and hopefully both keep playing at a high level.

Advantage: Rockets

Center: Omer Asik vs. Larry Sanders

Asik takes on Garry Shandling tonight in a battle of two upstart centers.

Sanders blocks 3 shots per game, which is good for second in the NBA. However, he only plays ~25 minutes a game, and leads in blocks per 48 minutes, which is a more telling stat for our purposes. I expect him to get five tonight.

Advantage: Even

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Greg Smith, Patrick Patterson

Bucks: Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Marquis Daniels

Advantage: Rockets

Prediction: Bucks pull away late, 98-94

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