Bucks' Parker to return to starting lineup versus Rockets (Jan 23, 2017)
MILWAUKEE -- Jabari Parker will be back in the starting lineup Monday night when as the Milwaukee Bucks try to snap a five-game losing streak when they host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Bradley Center.
Parker came off the bench Saturday night in a 109-97 loss to Miami as punishment for violating team policy. It was reported that Parker was reprimanded for sharing comments of a team meeting with the media.
"I spoke up for the first time and it didn't go my way," Parker told reporters after a Friday night loss at Orlando. "I was getting thrashed, but hey, as long as I give them another perspective I did my job."
Head coach Jason Kidd wouldn't elaborate on the decision and rookie Thon Maker started in place of Parker against the Heat.
"I thought he did a great job," Kidd said of Maker. "He got into the flow of the game and I thought he was really good today."
The Rockets had their way with the Bucks last Wednesday, riding 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds from James Harden to a 111-92 victory in Houston. They have had a bit of a rough stretch of late, going 3-4 in their last seven games including a 125-108 loss against the Warriors Friday night but bounced back Saturday for a 119-95 victory over the Grizzlies at Memphis.
Second-year forward Sam Dekker got his first career start in that contest and responded in a big way, scoring a career-high 30 points. He hit his first three and went 7-of-9 from the floor to go into halftime with 16.
"It settles you in, calms you down a little bit," said Dekker, who grew up an hour north of Milwaukee and starred at the University of Wisconsin. "I think that's for every basketball player in the world. If your first few go in, I think my first five or six went in, it really puts you at ease and kinda think everything is going to go in after that and hopefully I can continue that and knock shots down."
The Bucks, meanwhile, are trying to regroup. They were 20-18 and sixth in the Eastern Conference when their losing streak began but have since plummeted to 10th in the conference, one game behind Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Looking to snap out of the funk, Kidd also put Matthew Dellavadeova back in the starting group against Miami. Dellavedova had been coming off the bench since he returned from a leg injury but hadn't been quite as sharp, averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 assists in 19 minutes over a seven-game stretch.
"I haven't been playing that well, so I've just got to play better on both ends," said Dellavedova, who had 15 points and seven assists against the Heat. "We've just got to fight our way out of this.
"It's tough to win, but that's why it's worth it. It's a little of everything but defensively we haven't done what we did at the start of the year. We've been talking through things and all that and watching film. But we've just got to go out there and do it on the court."