After falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, the Houston Rockets were back in action on Saturday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to face the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the first quarter, both teams came out slow. The Houston Rockets had wide open looks from behind the arc, but could not hit. As a result, they drove into the paint and got good looks. Trevor Ariza and Tarik Black led the Rockets with six points each in the first period with Ariza's points coming off of threes, while Black earned his points battling in the paint. For the Bucks, Khris Middleton came off the bench and led them in scoring with five points. Jabari Parker, Larry Sanders, and Ersan Ilyasova all had four points each. After one quarter, the Houston Rockets led 28-23.
The second quarter was very similar to the first quarter, except more players got on the scoreboard. For the Rockets, James Harden and Jason Terry started heating up. Especially with the Rockets coming into this game short-handed, they needed Harden to be on his game. Harden found good looks and also headed to the costless throw line for easy points. He had 10 points in the quarter, 12 total. Jason Terry was also getting good looks. Whether it was a mid-range floater or a three pointer, he was getting his shots to fall. Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench for the Bucks and immediately made an impact. He had a nice mixture of mid-range jumpers and three pointers. At halftime, the Houston Rockets were still in front, 53-46.
As the third quarter came along, the Houston Rockets wanted to build on their lead. Sure enough, they did. James Harden exploded in the quarter. His threes were falling, and he worked his way into the paint. The Bucks could simply not stop him. Harden had 19 more points in the quarter. "Bearding" was in full effect. The Bucks tried to find a spark, but simply couldn't. The Houston Rockets built a comfortable lead, 85-72, heading to the fourth quarter.
James Harden wasn't much of a factor in the fourth quarter. He got to rest and see what the rest of his team could do with him on the bench. Donatas Motiejunas had a great game. "DMo" ended up with 20 points and was dominant all night long. Kostas Papanikolaou also had a good game but got the job done quietly. "KPap" had 12 points off of the bench. The Bucks could not provide enough production to keep up with the Rockets. Their bench was not having a great night. James Harden's 34 points were too much for the Bucks, as the Houston Rockets went on to win, 117-103.
The Houston Rockets improve to 13-4 with the win, while the Milwaukee Bucks fall to 10-8 on the young season.