NBA: Westbrook, Harden rally Rockets over Bucks

Published August 3, 2020, 2:40 PM

by Agence France-Presse

Russell Westbrook James Harden Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets talk during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on August 2, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and James Harden added 24 Sunday to rally the Houston Rockets over NBA overall leader Milwaukee 120-116 despite a big night for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks led 112-104 after Khris Middleton’s three-pointer with 3:14 to play, but Houston closed the game with a 16-4 run.

“It’s amazing,” Westbrook said. “We fought through. Adversity showed up and we showed off. All the guys in our locker room showed up to play for 48 minutes.”

The Rockets went 21-of-61 from three-point range, matching an NBA record for the most three-point attempts by a club in a non-overtime game, with Danuel House hitting four and Harden among five other players who landed three from outside the arc.

“You have to make the right reads and trust your teammates and that’s what I tried to do all night long,” said Westbrook.

The Rockets also rallied from seven points down in the final minute to defeat Dallas on Friday.

Westbrook, on a career-best run of 36 consecutive games with 20 or more points, hit 10-of-21 from the floor, 1-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 10-of-12 free throws. Harden had six steals, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets on August 2, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Greek big man Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 36 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists. Middleton had 27 points and 12 rebounds and Brook Lopez added 23 points and 12 rebounds.

“We’ve got to keep executing at the end of close games,” Antetokounmpo said. “We weren’t able to do that. We’ve got to find the open man and hit more shots.”

Tatum leads Celtics
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against Zach Collins #33 of the Portland Trail Blazers on August 2, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

The Rockets improved to 42-24, level with Utah for fourth in the Western Conference and only one game behind Denver, while the Bucks fell to 54-13, still the best record in the NBA and six games better than Toronto to top the Eastern Conference.

In the other feature interconference game, Jayson Tatum scored 34 points and Jaylen Brown added 30 to spark the Boston Celtics over Portland 128-124.

Gordon Hayward added 22 points for the Celtics, including two crucial free throws with three seconds to play to help seal a Boston win after squandering a 24-point advantage.

Boston opened the game by making 9-of-12 shots, five of them for three points, for a 26-15 lead and stretched their advantage from there before the Trail Blazers rallied.

Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers high fives teammate Hassan Whiteside #21 after a basket against the Boston Celtics at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 02, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / AFP)

Portland’s Damian Lillard had 30 points and 16 assists while Jusuf Nurkic added 30 points and nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

DeRozan seals it for Spurs
DeMar DeRozan San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan #10 dribbles up the court against Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks #24 during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 2, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis-Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

The San Antonio Spurs, powered by 21 points and 10 rebounds from Dejounte Murray, edged eighth-place Memphis in a Western Conference game. 

DeMar DeRozan completed a 108-106 win by sinking two free throws with one second remaining, the last of his 14 points. Grizzlies rookie star Ja Morant had 25 points and nine assists in a losing cause.

Dejounte Murray San Antonio Spurs
Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs dribbles up the court against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 2, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

The Memphis loss ensured a playoff spot for the Dallas Mavericks even before they took the court for a 117-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns. It will be the first Dallas post-season appearance since 2016.

Phoenix’s Devin Booker scored 30 points and Ricky Rubio added 20, both hitting key free throws in the final minutes to preserve the Suns’ lead.

Devin Booker Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on August 2, 2020 at The Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Reunion, Florida. (Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 40 points while Kristaps Porzingis added 30 for the Mavericks.

Caris LeVert scored 34 points, 14 of them in the last seven minutes, to spark the Brooklyn Nets over Washington 118-110. 

Caris LeVert Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) dribbles against Washington Wizards forward Isaac Bonga (17) in the first half of a NBA basketball game at HP Field House on August 2, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

Jarrett Allen had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Joe Harris scored a season-high 27 points for Brooklyn, which moved seven games ahead of the ninth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards must be within four games of eighth to force a play-in series and they have only six games remaining.

Orlando stayed half a game ahead of Brooklyn by routing Sacramento 132-116 behind 25 points from Terrence Ross plus 23 points and 11 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic.

The Magic’s victory joy was dampened by a third-quarter left leg injury to Jonathan Isaac, who had just worked his way back from a left knee injury. He exited the court in a wheelchair.

Jonathan Isaac Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac #1 of the Orlando Magic reacts after an injury against the Sacramento Kings in the second half of a NBA basketball game at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 2, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)
 
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