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- Bucks coach Scott Skiles is changing his starting lineup, inserting Epke Udoh at power forward, moving Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from power forward to small forward and moving Marquis Daniels to a bench role. The impetus? “It allows me to put Luc on Harden,” Skiles said. Harden, of course, is Rockets guard James Harden, who enters averaging 26.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds. Mbah a Moute is the Bucks’ best defensive player, able to defend big or small. Mbah a Moute on Harden does mean that 6-3 Monta Ellis will have to guard 6-9 Rockets forward Chandler Parsons.
- Bucks backup point guard Beno Udrih will be active and Skiles said he anticipated putting Udrih on the floor at some point in the first quarter to see what he can do. Udrih said out Wednesday’s game against San Antonio with a sore right ankle. He had played the previous three games after missing 12 games with a sprain in that same ankle suffered Nov. 30 at Minnesota.
- Rockets coach Kevin McHale talked before the game as though the Bucks and Rockets are mirror images. “Their strengths are our strengths and their weaknesses are our weaknesses,” McHale said. “Their strengths are getting up and scoring early in the clock. So are ours. Our weakness is defending early in the clock, and so is their’s. So I guess whoever gets the most fast-break points might win the game. … We’ve got to play with pace. We don’t want to go against their set defense. We don’t want to go against anybody’s set defense if we can help it.”
– Rick Braun