Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and a season-high 21 rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks withstand a 42-point performance from James Harden and beat the Houston Rockets 116-109 on Wednesday night.
In a matchup of the two front-runners for MVP, Harden and his teammates were done in by a shooting slump late in the third quarter that spilled into the fourth and left them down by 15 points.
Milwaukee held a 13-point lead with about five minutes left before Houston used a 8-0 run, started by two 3-pointers from Harden, to cut it to 107-102. The Bucks got a layup from Eric Bledsoe before Harden scored the next four points to get Houston to 109-106 with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws to push Milwaukee’s lead to four points with about 90 seconds left. Harden missed his third straight 3-pointer before Antetokounmpo added a layup on the other end to make it 112-106 with 40 seconds remaining.
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Harden missed another 3 seconds later and the Bucks added four free throws down the stretch to secure the their seventh victory in eight games.
It was Harden’s sixth 40-point outing in the last eight games and he has scored 30 or more points in 14 straight games, which is the longest streak since Tracy McGrady did it in 2003. Harden shot 6 of 16 on 3-pointers to give him at least five in the last 11 games.
NETS 115, HAWKS 100
NEW YORK (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points, Ed Davis grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds, and Brooklyn climbed out of an early 19-point hole to beat Atlanta.
DeMarre Carroll added 17 points to help the Nets improve to 21-22 with their eighth victory in their last nine home games. They managed only 20 wins for the entire season just two years ago, but have engineered a big turnaround after a slow start to this season. On Wednesday, they did the same thing in the game.
They yielded 46 points in the first 15 minutes, then held the Hawks to 37 points over the next 25 minutes.
Joe Harris, back after a one-game absence with a sprained right ankle, scored 16 points, as did Spencer Dinwiddie.
John Collins had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawks, who may have run out of steam after their strong start while playing on the second straight night. Trae Young had 17 points and seven assists, and Jeremy Lin added 16 points.
WIZARDS 123, 76ERS 106
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 34 to help Washington beat Philadelphia for a split of the home-and-home set.
After Washington’s 26-point third-quarter lead was cut to 12 in the fourth, Beal outscored Philadelphia 14-5 to make it 116-95 with 4:22 left. Beal was 6 of 11 from 3-point range and 13 of 21 overall from the field.
Otto Porter Jr. added 23 points, his most since returning from a quadriceps injury this month, and Trevor Ariza had 17.
Joel Embiid had 35 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers. They committed 23 turnovers, and had a four-game winning streak end.
Jimmy Butler added 23 points, and Ben Simmons had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia. A night after hitting more than half of its 31 attempts from beyond the arc, Philadelphia shot 8 of 27 from 3-point range, going 3 of 20 in the first three quarters.
CELTICS 135, PACERS 108
BOSTON (AP) — Marcus Morris had 22 points and eight rebounds, Jayson Tatum had 20 points and Boston routed Indiana.
Kyrie Irving had 12 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Celtics put together their highest-scoring game this season to get their fourth straight win.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, Gordon Hayward had 14 and Daniel Theis added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench. Terry Rozier had 12 points and five assists.
Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers. They had won seven of eight.
PELICANS 140, CAVALIERS 124
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 38 points and 13 rebounds and New Orleans overcame a slow start to pull away from Cleveland for its third straight victory.
Cleveland has lost 11 in a row.
New Orleans rookie Frank Jackson had 19 points to set a season high for a second straight game off the bench. He had 17 in a win over Memphis on Monday night. Jrue Holiday added 18 points, and Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic had 17 each.
Jordan Clarkson led Cleveland with 21 points.
GRIZZLIES 96, SPURS 86
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Marc Gasol had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Memphis Grizzlies snapped a six-game slide, beating San Antonio.
Mike Conley had 15 points and six assists for Memphis, and Jaren Jackson Jr. and JaMychal Green scored 12 points each.
Marco Belinelli and Bryn Forbes scored 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who ended a five-game winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills had 13 points each for San Antonio.
MAVERICKS 104, SUNS 94
DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 30 points and Dallas ended a seven-game losing streak against Phoenix.
The 19-year-old rookie put the Mavericks ahead for good with a 3-pointer early in the second half before getting one of his five assists on a jump-pass from nearly half court out of a double team to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk as Dallas built its lead to nine going to the fourth quarter.
T.J. Warren scored 20 points for the Suns. Scoring leader Devin Booker missed the Kings game and was out again in Dallas with back spasms.
JAZZ 106, MAGIC 93
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and seven assists and Utah rallied to beat Orlando.
Joe Ingles added 16 points and seven assists, and Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Utah improved to 21-21, winning for the third time in four games.
D.J Augustin had 23 points and six assists for Orlando. The Magic ended a six-game trip with four straight losses.
LAKERS 113, PISTONS 100
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points and the Lakers beat the Pistons to improve to 3-5 without injured LeBron James.
Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls. He left with 1:07 to play and put a wrap around his midsection with a pack stuffed in the back.
The second-year forward had scoring runs of 10 and six points in the quarter, when the Lakers led by 16.
Detroit’s Blake Griffin, averaging a career-high 25.3 points, was held to 16 points and no rebounds.
TRAIL BLAZERS 124, BULLS 112
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — CJ McCollum had 24 points and the Trail Blazers pulled away in the final quarter to send the Bulls to their fifth straight loss.
Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and eight rebounds but got into foul trouble and came up just short of his fifth straight game with 20 or more points. Portland has won three straight and five of its last six games.
Wendell Carter Jr. had 22 points to lead the Bulls in the first of a five-game road trip.