Bucks school War­riors, Thun­der thump Rock­ets

Ge­orge scores 20 points to lead the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der to a sev­enth straight vic­tory

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

The Mil­wau­kee Bucks made a state­ment on Thurs­day night with a 134-111 vic­tory over the Golden State War­riors, snap­ping the two-time de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons’ eight-game NBA win­ning streak. The ever-im­prov­ing Bucks im­posed their will on a War­riors team that was with­out in­jured Dray­mond Green and lost Stephen Curry to a left ad­duc­tor strain in the third quar­ter.

“As a team we played re­ally hard. We moved the ball real well and we made shots,” said Bucks star Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo. “We’ve just got to keep get­ting bet­ter ev­ery day and play­ing good bas­ket­ball.”

Mil­wau­kee’s Eric Bled­soe led all scor­ers with 26 points — 10 of them in the Bucks’ 41-point third quar­ter. An­te­tok­oun­mpo, touted as Most Valu­able Player ma­te­rial, added 24 points, nine re­bounds and four as­sists. The Bucks out-scored the War­riors 84-34 in the paint and led the War­riors 20-4 in fast­break points.

Mil­wau­kee par­layed 18 War­riors turnovers into 23 points and led by as many as 29 in the sec­ond half as they dealt the War­riors their first home de­feat of the sea­son. Curry was try­ing to con­test a Bled­soe shot in the third when he clutched his thigh in pain.

War­riors coach Steve Kerr said he’d have an MRI exam. Curry scored 10 points be­fore he de­parted — his sec­ond straight game with fewer than 20. “Some­times you’ve got to get hit in the mouth in this league to re­mind you how hard it is to win a game,” Kerr said, adding that Green’s ab­sence wasn’t the War­riors’ big­gest prob­lem.

“When you come out with a sort of mind­less in­tent, and you’re foul­ing and not ex­e­cut­ing, just tak­ing quick shots against a re­ally good team — a team that’s hun­gry and on the rise — you’re not go­ing to fare very well,” he said.

Paul Ge­orge scored 20 points to lead the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der to a sev­enth straight vic­tory, a dom­i­nant 9880 home tri­umph over the Hous­ton Rock­ets. Thun­der point guard Rus­sell West­brook missed his sec­ond straight game with a sprained left an­kle, but with West­brook of­fer­ing ad­vice and en­ergy from the bench Ok­la­homa City didn’t miss a beat.

Ge­orge led the way, pulling down 11 re­bounds, hand­ing out six as­sists and com­ing up with six steals — one shy of his ca­reer record. “I was all right,” Ge­orge said. “I wasn’t great, I was all right. You can al­ways per­form bet­ter, you can al­ways make more shots.”

Even if he didn’t sound too en­thused about his own per­for­mance, Ge­orge was pleased with the Thun­der’s show­ing over­all as they con­tin­ued their resur­gence in the wake of an 0-4 start to the sea­son. “We played hard,” he said.”That’s what’s been get­ting us over the hump is our en­ergy and ef­fort.”

New Zealan­der Steven Adams had 19 points and 10 re­bounds for the Thun­der. Ter­rance Fer­gu­son and Den­nis Schroder added 14 points apiece as all five Thun­der starters and sub­sti­tute Raymond Fel­ton scored in dou­ble fig­ures. James Har­den led the Rock­ets with 19 points but con­nected on just seven of 19 shots from the field. Clint Capela added 17 for the Rock­ets, who saw a three­game win­ning streak snapped. Carmelo An­thony, who played for the Thun­der last sea­son be­fore be­ing traded to the Rock­ets, epit­o­mized Hous­ton’s woes as he en­dured a night­mare re­turn to Ok­la­homa City.

He scored two points — mak­ing one of his 11 shots as the Rock­ets, who led the league with 65 wins last sea­son, fell to 4-6. In Phoenix, the Bos­ton Celtics ral­lied from a 22-point third-quar­ter deficit to hand the Suns a heart­break­ing 116-109 over­time de­feat.

Kyrie Irv­ing scored 18 of his 39 points in the fourth quar­ter and over­time for Bos­ton and Mar­cus Mor­ris added 17 points against his for­mer team. That in­cluded a three-pointer with 1.1 sec­onds re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion that knot­ted the score at 100-100.

Jaylen Brown’s 17 points all came af­ter half­time as the Celtics snapped a two-game los­ing streak. The Suns, mean­while, have lost nine of 10 in the young sea­son.

RE­SULTS

War­riors 111, Mil­wau­kee 134; Port­land 116, LA Clip­pers 105; Phoenix 109, Bos­ton 116 (OT); Ok­la­homa City 98, Hous­ton 80

(AFP)

Kevin Du­rant (sec­ond left) of the Golden State War­riors loses the ball while guarded by Donte DiVin­cenzo (left) and Tony Snell of the Mil­wau­kee Bucks.

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