BUCKS BEAT ROCKETS
Critical takeaways from Rockets' 123-114 loss to Bucks
As of Friday night, the Houston Rockets seven-game winning streak is over, as they fought a hard battle against the previous NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Rockets did have steady control throughout the game because of Alperen Sengun, Christian Wood (21 points and 47 percent from the field), Garrison Mathews, and Armoni Brooks' terrific effort on the court. But Giannis Antetokounmpo who is a two-time MVP dominated each quarter of basketball. He finished with 41 points, 17 rebounds, and 5.0 assists.
The Rockets shot the ball well Friday night, as they have within these eight games. While having Mathews and Brooks on the floor, the spacing for the Rockets becomes better. It allows more cutting and slipping towards the rim. Friday night, the Rockets finished with 41 percent shooting versus the Bucks. Mathews has a quick and easy release when shooting the basketball and elevation off his jump-shot too. He has become a reliable shooter for the Rockets. Within eight games, Mathews is shooting 46.4 percent from three while averaging 17.0 points per contest and has a 73.8 true shooting percentage.
Brooks and Mathews have catapulted the Rockets to fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting inside eight games. Seeing Brooks becoming more aggressive in his driving is impressive. It allows Brooks to not be stagnate on the court, which keeps the opposing team’s defenses off balance. Brooks has shown he can put the ball on the floor and score, as he did versus the Bucks. He shot 71 percent from the field with four made threes and 21 points. Brooks has already shown his catch-and-shoot skills and off-the-screen shooting, but putting the ball on the floor at a bigger sample will make him a more versatile offensive player.
Sengun had great battles against Bobby Portis and Antetokounmpo. He impressed Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton with his footwork inside the paint Friday night.
“He is physical and has good footwork,” said Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton when I asked about Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun play on Friday night. #Rockets #LightTheFuse #Sarge @alperennsengun pic.twitter.com/4m7JubYMtn
— BIG SARGE MEDIA LLC (@BigSargeSportz) December 11, 2021
“He’s a good player,” Antetokounmpo said. “Takes his time; nothing can speed him up. He might be slow in the post, but he’s effective. He’s playing well. He’s playing a lot of minutes off the bench, gives energy to his teammates. He rebounds the ball well. He’s being aggressive, sets good screens. I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Jae'Sean Tate was also impressed with Sengun. “When you talk about footwork, there’s not anybody that moves like he does… His ability to score around the rim and pass the ball is something you can’t teach,” Tate said. “He’s going to continue to get better and be a problem.”
Sengun is in the 60th percentile in post-ups per Synergy. Friday night, Sengun had 15 points and 5.0 rebounds and a plus 11 from the field against the defending champs. Sengun will become more lethal if he can stay out of foul trouble, as most rookie big men struggle with. His footwork, patience, and skill will accelerate his pace in the NBA.
My biggest note for Christian Wood: IS BECOME AGGRESSIVE IN ALL FOUR QUARTERS!
Wood is playing better basketball now, which is good. He is becoming a better finisher at the rim and over defenders. Wood’s rebounding is very impressive this season, as he is fourth in the NBA in defensive rebounding. He has increased his rebound total towards 11.4 per game, which puts him at 7th in the NBA. Hopefully, Wood got a great look at Antetokounmpo, as he scored 41 points easily. The Rockets are considering offers for Wood on the trade market too.
Although the streak is over, Silas mentioned how he was pleased with the Rockets' effort versus the Bucks.
“My message is they should be so proud of what [we've] done,” Silas said. “They should be proud that we went toe to toe with the champs and it took Giannis going for 41 to beat us.”
Up next: The Rockets face the Grizzlies on Saturday night.