The Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets are undergoing two completely different campaigns at the midway point. The Rockets, led by James Harden, have prospered- boasting an offensive juggernaut and sitting at the third seed in the unforgiving Western Conference. Milwaukee, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, remain a middling Eastern Conference team with tons of untapped potential.
The two squads faced off last night in a game that wasn’t exactly a marquee matchup, but the privilege to watch two full-blown superstars in Harden and Antetokounmpo go at each other provided for quite the entertainment. Houston eventually put the game away in the fourth quarter after a strong second period, thanks in large part to their bearded assassin who has been absolutely terrorizing defenses all season.
After the game, Antetokounmpo had some heavy praise for the Arizona State product. Following from C.F. Garnder of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Giannis on Harden: "I think I can say right now he is the best player in the league. … He's tough."
— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) January 19, 2017
The statement from Giannis certainly does come as a bit of a surprise, but we all knew with the way Harden is dominating, it’d only be a matter of time until we heard whispers about him potentially being the best player on the planet. Hearing it from your peers, especially another star in Antetokounmpo, will certainly do wonders for Harden’s confidence though I’m sure he doesn’t need any due to the pace his squad is performing at right now.
Though last night we saw Antetokounmpo have quite the performance putting up 32 points to go with 11 boards and 6 assists, Harden’s 38 was simply too much for Milwaukee.
On the year, Harden is averaging an astounding 28.9 points per game to go with a league-leading 11.6 assists and 8.3 rebounds. With Russell Westbrook playing at his breakneck rate and raking in triple-doubles in his sleep, Harden even being considered in the MVP race should tell you all you need to know about his and his team’s performance this season.
Last night’s contest sure was a fun one and hopefully the next time we see The Greek Freak vs. The Beard, it’s as starters in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game.
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