ROCK­ETS BLOW OUT BULLS

Hous­ton give D’An­toni the 500th win of his coach­ing ca­reer

New Straits Times - - Sport -

HEAD coach Mike D’An­toni recorded his 500th ca­reer win as the Hous­ton Rock­ets ral­lied from a first quar­ter deficit to de­feat the Chicago Bulls 115-94 on Fri­day.

James Har­den tal­lied 19 points and 11 as­sists as the Rock­ets were able to avoid their first three­game los­ing streak of the sea­son with a vic­tory in front of a crowd of 21,900 at United Cen­tre.

D’An­toni was pleased that the mile­stone win came on a night like this. He joins Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle and Nate McMil­lan as the only ac­tive coaches with 500 wins.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” said D’An­toni. “I’ve had some good teams, and this is one of my best. Tonight, we started out slow in that first quar­ter, but we found a way to turn it around. We play bet­ter of­fen­sively when we play some de­fence.”

Har­den had 19 points and 11 as­sists to power the Rock­ets, who im­proved to 45-21 on the sea­son and swept the two-game sea­son se­ries from the Bulls.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points in his re­turn from a two-game in­jury ab­sence to lead the Bulls, who lost their sea­son-high fourth straight con­test.

“They are a team that can get go­ing in a hurry and can get hot,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They did that, and ob­vi­ously we didn’t re­spond well.”

Else­where, Andrew Wig­gins scored 20 of his 24 points in the sec­ond half as the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves de­feated the Golden State War­riors 103-102.

Wig­gins also made two clutch free throws with 12 sec­onds left. Kar­lAn­thony Towns had 23 points, and Ricky Ru­bio added 17 points and 13 re­bounds as Min­nesota won for the eighth time in 12 games.

“We’re learn­ing,” Ru­bio said af­ter the Tim­ber­wolves beat Golden State for the first time in three games this sea­son. “We’re get­ting ex­pe­ri­ence and these games mean a lot. We just go af­ter it.”

War­riors’ Stephen Curry fin­ished with 26 points to sur­pass his fa­ther, Dell, in NBA ca­reer points. Dell scored 12,670 points in his ca­reer, while Curry has 12,682. It’s the fourth-high­est point to­tal by a fa­ther-son duo in league history.

The Char­lotte Hor­nets con­tin­ued their mastery of the Or­lando Magic with a dom­i­nat­ing 121-81 vic­tory at the Spec­trum Cen­tre.

Kemba Walker scored 23 points be­fore sit­ting out the en­tire fourth quar­ter as the Hor­nets were in com­mand through­out and led by as many as 42 points. It was their first wire-to-wire vic­tory of the 2016-17 sea­son.

Khris Mid­dle­ton and Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo scored 21 points each as the Mil­wau­kee Bucks stretched their win­ning streak to a sea­son-high five games with a 99-85 vic­tory over the In­di­ana Pac­ers. The vic­tory moved Mil­wau­kee a half-game ahead of Chicago for the eighth and fi­nal Eastern Con­fer­ence play­off spot, and 1 1/2 games be­hind the Pac­ers for the sixth seed.

RE­SULTS: Wash­ing­ton 130 Sacra­mento 122 (OT), Den­ver 119 Bos­ton 99, Dal­las 105 Brook­lyn 96, Hous­ton 115 Chicago 94, Mil­wau­kee 99 In­di­ana 85, Min­nesota 103 Golden State 102, At­lanta 105 Toronto 99, Char­lotte 121 Or­lando 81.

I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve had some good teams, and this is one of my best.

MIKE D’AN­TONI Hous­ton Rock­ets head coach

REUTERS PIC

Hous­ton Rock­ets’ Pa­trick Bev­er­ley (left) strips the ball from Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade at the United Cen­tre on Fri­day.

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