Tuesday’s matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets was built up to be an MVP showdown. To conclude, it was a complete fizz. Neither Giannis Antetokounmpo nor James Harden stole the show in the Bucks’ 108-94 victory.
So why would I focus a lazy issue on this unfortunate game? It was the Bucks unique defense that took the show. As boring as this game was, they held the beard (Harden) to a measly 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists on just 9-26 from the field and 1-9 from three. That’s saying something for the year Harden has been having.
With James’ shot not falling, the Bucks strategy was to keep pushing Harden to the right, making his right hand do all the work. Even if you look at the image above, Giannis is pushing him right, while closing off the backside, to urge Harden to use his non-dominant right hand and blocking that deadly step back. Another little tactic from the Bucks was to stay focused on not fouling James. Harden normally gets a lot of points from the free-throw line, but for this game, he only took 5 when his season average is 11.
To be clear, no one from the Rockets team had a good shooting night. If Harden and his teammates started catching fire, this would’ve been a completely different game. The Rockets lean heavily on Harden to carry this team, while Giannis has the luxury to turn to his teammates in stepping up, which they did.
Catch you Monday.