Jan 18, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight (11) drives to the basket past Houston Rockets guard James Harden (left) during the second half at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 114-104. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Difference: Rockets: 114, Bucks: 104

Note: To differentiate (no pun intended) the process by which I recap games for this site, I’m going to use a similar model that the folks at Mavs Outsider currently use for their site. While this may seem like a weird approach to take since we’re midway through the season, the same repetitive recap format gets kind of tiring when you’re writing about a pretty bad team. For this recap format, there’s going a bullet point for every point in the margin of the final score. 

  • Sophomore forward Terrence Jones continues to benefit from his opportunity as Houston’s main power forward as he absolutely trounced Milwaukee’s defense by putting up an incredible 36 points and 11 rebounds on 14-20 from the field. This really shouldn’t come off as a surprise considering the fact that a majority of his points came against Ersan Ilyasova who is continuing to showcase himself as an awful on-ball defender.
  • Benefiting from Houston’s below average perimeter defense, Milwaukee shot a season-high 47% from beyond the arc (11-23). The two point guard duo of Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight shot an incredible 7-10 from the 3 point line which is going to be the most notable part of their overall solid performance. Since the calendar turned to January, Knight has put up 17 PPG and 4 APG on 42% shooting which is bound to improve if he was a long-term extension in the offseason.
  • While the two point guard starting lineup was fantastic from beyond the arc, the duo also helped lead the Bucks to 19 turnovers. Even though that number isn’t incredibly high, it was still a huge killer because of Houston’s tremendous transition offense.
  • With the trio of Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard and James Harden, Houston was able to exploit Milwaukee’s lackadaisical defense to the tune of 66 points in the paint. A majority of that came from how Jones and Harden were able to easily drive their way to the rim because of the awful perimeter defense of Ridnour (on Harden) and Ilyasova (on Jones).
  • Teenage sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo had an effective but yet limited performance against Houston. In 21 minutes, Antetokounmpo put up 10 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds on 4-10 from the field. While he had foul trouble in the early portions of the game, he barely saw any action in the 2nd half until the game was basically over in the later moments of the 4th quarter.
  • While his play has been a little inconsistent in the three games since his return from injury, John Henson had a massive 20 point, 15 rebound performance against Houston. As Henson’s overall offense continues to improve, it’s going to be interesting to see when he’ll get his deserving spot back in the Bucks starting lineup over the struggling Ersan Ilyasova
  • Despite the four turnovers, OJ Mayo is really continuing to look decent in his new role as the team’s 6th man as he had 9 points and 5 rebounds on 4-9 shooting. While his overall shooting performance wasn’t particularly fantastic, Mayo is still looking more energized on both ends of the ball which is fantastic.
  • I’ve touched on this multiple times but what’s the deal with Ersan Ilyasova? His overall performance on offense continues to get worse while his usual below-average defense seems to be getting uglier on a game-by-game basis.
  • Larry Sanders definitely had a performance that was reminiscent of the 2012-13 season. While Dwight Howard basically controlled him on the boards, Sanders definitely put up a tough battle on the defensive end as he tried to stop Houston’s offensive onslaught which lead to a season-high 5 blocks.
  • Milwaukee’s rough Texas Two-Step road trip finishes up later today against the San Antonio Spurs. While nothing’s impossible in the NBA, I’m going to find it hard to see Milwaukee end their current 8 game losing streak against the reigning Western Conference champs.

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