Rockets 120, Bucks 116
Rockets 120, Bucks 116
Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and Houston used strong defense down the stretch for a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday night.
It was the 36th straight game with at least 20 points for Westbrook, who led Houston’s offense on a night James Harden scored 24.
Harden called their defense on Sunday night “very important” to the victory.
“Throughout the course of the game we played some really good defense,” he said. “They’re a good offensive team but we got stops when we needed to.”
Houston tied an NBA record for most 3-point attempts in a regulation game with 61, making 21 of them, and forced 22 turnovers.
“I think our execution, our certainty in what we wanted to do wasn’t where it needs to be and that starts with me,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “So, I think a lot of tonight’s on me.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to have 15 games with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a season in the last 50 years.
Khris Middleton scored 27 points and Brook Lopez added 23 as the Bucks missed a chance to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee led by one in the fourth quarter before Lopez scored the first four points of a 7-0 run that was capped by a 3 from Middleton to make it 112-104 with about 3 minutes remaining.
But Houston scored the next nine points, highlighted by a 3 and a steal from P.J. Tucker and a block by Harden on Antetokounmpo, to go on top 113-112 about a minute later.
“Usually when we’re up six two minutes to go, we usually close the game out,” Antetokounmpo said. “But we didn’t do that today, so we’ve got to learn from it and got to keep moving.”
Lopez ended Houston’s run with a basket in the paint to make it 114-113 with less than a minute to go.
Westbrook made two free throws before a shot by Antetokounmpo left Milwaukee up 116-115 with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Westbrook made two more free throws and Danuel House stole a pass from Antetokounmpo and was fouled. He added two free throws to leave Houston up 119-116 with 14 seconds left.
Middleton missed two 3-point attempts after that to allow Houston to hold on for the victory.
Harden liked the tenacity his team showed in fighting back from the late deficit.
“Things weren’t going our way, we weren’t making shots, but we just stuck with it,” he said.
“Adversity showed up and we showed out,” he said.
The Rockets were up by two after a basket by Westbrook with about 1 ½ minutes left in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo and Kyle Korver hit late 3s to take a 90-89 lead into the fourth quarter.
Tucker missed his first six 3-pointers before making his first two attempts of the second half. He finished with 11 points.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon missed his second game with a sprained left ankle.
Bucks guards Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton both missed their second straight games as they continue to get back in shape after testing positive for COVID-19.
Spurs 108, Grizzlies 106
DeMar DeRozan made two free throws with a second to play, giving San Antonio a victory over Memphis that moved the Spurs into ninth place in the Western Conference.
The Spurs built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, then needed a bunch of big plays down the stretch from DeRozan after the Grizzlies rallied.
The final one came when he brought the ball down court after Jaren Jackson Jr. tied it for Memphis with a corner 3-pointer with 10.6 seconds to play. DeRozan pump-faked Dillon Brooks into the air and drew the foul, then knocked down the foul shots. Jackson missed a long 3 on the final possession.
The Spurs are trying to qualify for the postseason for what would be an NBA-record 23rd consecutive season. They arrived at Walt Disney World in 12th place in the West, but after victories over Sacramento and Memphis are just two games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies.
Dejounte Murray had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs. Derrick White added 16 points and DeRozan had 14. Morant finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Jackson scored 21 points.
Magic 132, Kings 116
Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Aaron Gordon scored 19 of his 22 points in the first half and Orlando continued its strong restart with a victory over Sacramento.
Terrence Ross added 25 points to help the Magic win a season-best fifth straight game going back to before the pandemic-forced shutdown in March. Orlando won the last three before the hiatus and beat Brooklyn, the team it is battling for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, to open the restart.
De’Aaron Fox scored 13 points after a career-high 39 in the restart opener for the Kings, who have lost both games in the bubble as they try to get in position for a shot at the final playoff spot in the West. Harry Giles III led Sacramento with a career-high 23 points.
Suns 117, Mavericks 115
Devin Booker scored 30 points and Phoenix erased a double-digit deficit while the All-Star guard was on the bench with foul trouble, rallying to beat Dallas.
The Suns have won both games in the restart after coming in with the worst record in the Western Conference. They’re still long shots for the playoffs, while the Mavericks clinched their first postseason berth since 2016 by virtue of Memphis’ loss to San Antonio earlier in the day.
Luka Doncic had 40 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks. whose hopes of moving up from the seventh seed are fading with an 0-2 start in the eight-game seeding round.