An­te­tok­oun­mpo leads Bucks over Har­den’s Rock­ets

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

MIL­WAU­KEE’S NBA Most Valu­able Player con­tender Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo scored 27 points to lead the Bucks to a hard­fought 116-109 vic­tor y on Wednesday over reign­ing MVP James Har­den and the Hous­ton Rock­ets.

An­te­tok­oun­mpo added 21 re­bounds and was a phys­i­cal pres­ence on both ends of the floor as the Bucks bat­tled back from a 60-54 half­time deficit to end the Rock­ets’ 10-game home winning streak.

“He just does ever ything,” Bucks coach Mike Bu­den­holzer said of the im­pos­ing An­te­tok­oun­mpo, who drained 11 of his 14 free-throw at­tempts. “He has a huge im­pact on winning.”

The Bucks led by as many as 15 in the fourth quar­ter, but Har­den and the Rock­ets had whit­tled that lead to three with less than two min­utes re­main­ing.

An­te­tok­oun­mpo, af­ter miss­ing a free throw with 1:39 to play, came out of a time­out and made the sec­ond to keep the Bucks ahead by four.

Af­ter Har­den turned the ball over, then re­gained it with a steal only to miss a three-pointer, An­te­tok­oun­mpo made sure the next Bucks pos­ses­sion pro­duced some points as he rose to tap in a miss by Khris Mid­dle­ton.

Har­den, who fin­ished with 42 points and 11 re­bounds, missed an- other three-pointer and the Bucks held on to take their record to 29-11 – per­cent­age points ahead of the 3112 Toronto Raptors for best record in the league.

Mal­colm Brog­don added 24 points, con­nect­ing on nine of 12 from t he field. All of those bas­kets came f rom the paint, where the Bucks out-scored the Rock­ets 70-24.

In Bos­ton, the Celtics led by as many as many as 31 points in a wire-to-wire 135-108 romp over the In­di­ana Pac­ers.

The Celtics notched their fourth straight vic­tor y – all com­ing at home be­fore they set off on a road trip that starts in Mi­ami on Thursday.

Start­ing for­ward Mar­cus Mor­ris and re­serve Jaylen Brown both scored 22 points for the Celtics and Jayson Ta­tum added 20.

They jumped on a Pac­ers team play­ing their fourth game in si x nights, open­ing the game on an 18-8 scor­ing run.

In Wash­ing­ton, the Wizards made the most of a re­turn home with a con­vinc­ing 123-106 vic­tor y over the Philadel­phia 76ers – a day af­ter the Six­ers dom­i­nated the Wizards 132115 in Philly.

The Six­ers had won four in a row, but they have now lost nine straight in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, a skid dat­ing back to Novem­ber 2013.

“We knew what Wash­ing­ton was go­ing to come out with,” said 76ers coach Brett Brown, who said his team’s 24 turnovers was too much to over­come.

“I give Wash­ing­ton credit with their en­erg y, but we weren’t sharp tonight,” Brown said.

Bradley Beal’s 34 points in­cluded 14 straight for the Wizards in the fourth quar­ter. Otto Porter Jr scored 23 and Trevor Ariza added 17 for Wash­ing­ton, with Joel Em­biid lead­ing the 76ers with 35 points and 14 re­bounds.

Nets rally

The Brooklyn Nets over­came a 19point first-half deficit to beat the At­lanta Hawks 116-100 in New York.

D’An­gelo Rus­sell led the Nets with 23 points. DeMarre Car­roll added 17 off the bench and start­ing guard Joe Har­ris and re­serve Spencer Din­wid­die added 16 apiece for Brooklyn, who edged ahead of Mi­ami for the sixth spot in the East.

Brooklyn opened the fourth quar­ter on a 14-3 scor­ing run on the way to their 13th vic­tor y in 16 games – con­tin­u­ing their turn­around from an eight-game los­ing streak that had left them at 8-18 in early De­cem­ber.

The New Or­leans Pel­i­cans also climbed out of an early hole eras­ing a 16-point first-half deficit to de­feat the Cleve­land Cava­liers 140-124.

An­thony Davis scored 38 points and pulled down 13 re­bounds for the Pel­i­cans, who won a third straight game for the first time since Novem­ber.

“The game didn’t start ex­actly how we wanted it to,” said Pel­i­cans coach Alvin Gen­try, not­ing Cleve­land’s red-hot start from three­p­oint range that saw the Cavs make all eight of their first-quar­ter three­p­oint at­tempts.

“I thought in the sec­ond half of­fen­sively we moved the bas­ket­ball and did a great job. Ob­vi­ously if you have back-to-back 40-point quar­ters the of­fence is work­ing pretty well.”

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo of the Mil­wau­kee Bucks goes to the bas­ket against the Hous­ton Rock­ets on Wednesday at the Toy­ota Cen­ter in Hous­ton, Texas.

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