The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
Contact Kris Gardner for details pertaining to advertising on the website; the blogs; and / or the podcasts.
Rockets' 10-game home win streak snapped in 116-109 loss to Milwaukee
Posted: January 9, 2019 -- 11:46 p.m.
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Milwaukee Bucks overcame another huge night from James Harden to defeat the Houston Rockets 116-109 Wednesday night. Houston's loss snapped a 10-game home winning streak.
Harden finished the game with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists. Harden has scored 40+ points in eight of the past 14 games and is averaging 40.3 ppg over that span. It is Harden's 60th 40-point game since joining the Rockets in 2012-13. No other player has more than 36 40-point games over that span.
Houston (23-17) led Milwaukee 29-26 after the first quarter. Milwaukee led by seven points twice in the first period; however, Houston finished the quarter with a 15-5 to lead by three after 12 minutes.
The Rockets led by 10 points two times in the second quarter; but, the lead was only six (60-54) at halftime.
"We didn't play real smart," Mike D'Antoni said after the game. "We came in with a six-point lead instead of keeping it 10-12, pushing it to 12."
Milwaukee (29-11) dominated the third quarter.
"We just got stagnant defensively," Harden said after the game. "I think we allowed 38-40 points in that quarter, (that's) way too many, especially at home; so, there you go. We couldn't get out in transition. We couldn't get to where we wanted to go, because we didn't get any stops."
Milwaukee outscored the Rockets 38-23 in the period; and, beat the Rockets' off the dribble repeatedly in the third.
"A couple of things we did that we'll try to correct," D'Antoni commented. "And, then in the third quarter, they just blew by us. And, we tried to guard them one-on-one. We didn't stay in front of our guys; and, they had 38 in the third. The rest of the three quarters are okay; but, in the third, we just let them get away from us."
While the Rockets were scoreless the first 2:01 of the fourth quarter, the Bucks scored 6 points to lead 98-83 with 9:59 remaining in the game.
Houston trailed 103-88 at the 7:35 mark of the fourth quarter.
Gerald Green made a three-point shot then three free throws to trim Houston's deficit to 9 (103-94); but, the Bucks scored four in a row to push the margin back to 13.
Harden made two 3-point shots followed by an Austin Rivers' driving lay-up for a 107-102 Bucks' lead. Harden scored four more points sandwiched around an Eric Bledsoe lay-up. Houston trailed 109-106 with 2:37 remaining.
The Rockets did not get any closer than three the final two minutes, 37 seconds.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, marking the second 20/20 game of his career (27/20 at Washington on 1/15/18). The last Milwaukee player to record multiple 20/20 games in his career with the Bucks was Andrew Bogut with four.
Austin Rivers believes Milwaukee's role players hurt the Rockets Wednesday night.
"I noticed he (Antetokounmpo) had a great game overall," Rivers said. "But, in terms of making him shoot a lot of tough twos, I thought we did that. I thought we got hurt by the other players. They had a lot of guys who had eight (points), 10, nine, six. Malcolm Brogdon had 22, nobody's talking about, who lived in the paint tonight. I think we just got to take the challenge (of) one-on-one defense moreso if anything. I know we're switching a lot; and, sometimes when you switch, a lot of guys can get a little lazy just because you were relying on switching. But, you have to take that one-on-one defense personal and play some good defense; so, we don't have to help as much. That goes for everybody, everybody has to including myself; so we'll get better at that."
Harden added, "Defensively, we just didn't get any stops in the third quarter; and, that was a totally different game right there. We put ourselves in a hole; then, you got to try and climb out of that whole. It makes it difficult, especially against a pretty good team."
The Rockets scored 109 points tonight. Houston is 15-5 when scoring 110 or more points this season and 8-12 when failing to do so. Milwaukee is 20-2 when holding its opponent below 110 points this season.
The Rockets lost despite hitting 18 3-pointers and holding the Bucks to 8. It is just the third time Houston has lost a game under head coach Mike D'Antoni when hitting 10 or more 3-pointers than its opponent (11/12/16 vs. San Antonio and 10/21/18 at the L.A. Clippers).
Clint Capela had 18 points and 13 rebounds tonight, marking his 28th double-double in the 40 games this season. He had 42 double-doubles in 74 games played in 2017-18.
Gerald Green scored 16 points off the bench. He has scored 10 or more points in five straight games for the first time since a six-game span from March 24 - April 3, 2018. Green is averaging 16.8 ppg on 50.9% shooting over the past five games.
The Rockets' next game is Wednesday, January 11, versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
CLICK HERE for The HRR's Rockets' write-ups.
The HRR on Facebook