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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets erase 8 point deficit in last 3:14 of the 4th to defeat Milwaukee

Posted: August 2, 2020 -- 11:48 p.m. CT

ORLANDO, FL (ESPN Disney World of Sports Complex) -- The Houston Rockets outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 16-4 in the final 3 plus minutes to defeat the Bucks 120-116 and improve to 42-24 overall and 2-0 in the 8 "seeding games" as part of the NBA Restart.

Milwaukee is now 54-13 on the season and 1-1 in the Restart.

Houston trailed 112-104 with 3:14 remaining in the ball game. Russell Westbrook scored a layup to slice Houston's deficit to six. Then, Milwaukee's Khris Middleton committed one of his 6 turnovers to give ball back to the Rockets.

After a timeout by the Bucks, Westbrook dished to an open P.J. Tucker in the corner and Tucker drained the three-point attempt to pull Houston within 112-109 with 2:32 on the clock. Milwaukee guard George Hill stumbled and bumbled his way into a steal by Tucker. Tucker dished to Robert Covington in the open court; Covington scored a layup for a 112-111 Bucks' lead.

Nineteen seconds later, James Harden stole the ball from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Then, Harden dished to Westbrook who was racing up the court. Westbrook scored a layup for put the Rockets ahead 113-112 with 1:41 on the clock.

Neither team scored for nearly 1 minute before Brook Lopez rebounded a rushed Wes Matthews three-point attempt. Lopez scored an offensive putback to put the Bucks up 114-113 with 43.1 seconds remaining.

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On Houston's possession, Westbrook was fouled on a pull up jump shot attempt with 28.5 seconds on the clock. Westbrook made both free throws for a 115-114 Rockets' lead. Milwaukee called timeout to set up a play for Giannis. After the timeout, Giannis drove to the hoop and scored a layup to put the Bucks ahead 116-115.

Middleton fouled Westbrook. Once again, Westbrook made both foul shots. Houston trailed 117-116 when Giannis dribbled up the court. Harden's defense kept Giannis from getting to the basket; and, instead of tossing a shot at the rim, Giannis tossed a cross court pass intended for Kyle Korver. Danuel House Jr. intercepted the pass and Korver fouled House. House made both free throws for a 119-116 lead with 14.0 seconds on the game clock.

Milwaukee inbounded the ball to Middleton; Middleton got a great look at an open three-point shot from the top of the key. Middleton missed the shot. Milwaukee got the offensive rebound and a chance for more opportunity to tie the game. After the Bucks called a final timeout, Middleton launched a 31-foot three-point shot and missed. Harden got the rebound and was fouled. Harden split the free throws to seal the win for the Rockets.

After the game, Harden said, "Now, we're in a good place. I think we've found ourselves. It's going to, obviously, have to be defense and rebounding and transition defense because, offensively, we can score with anybody."

Houston had 15 steals in the game. Milwaukee turned over the ball 23 times which the Rockets converted into 30 points. Houston only had 9 turnovers in the ball game.

The Rockets attempted an NBA-tying 61 three-point shots (in regulation) and made 21. The Rockets made 15 of 30 two-point field goal tries and 27 of 31 free throw attempts.

Westbrook scored 31 points to lead the Rockets. He added 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 5 turnovers. Harden scored 24 points; and added 7 boards, 7 assists, and 6 steals. Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 36 points and pulled down 18 rebounds and dished a team-high 8 assists.

Houston's next game is Tuesday, August 4, at 8 p.m. Central Time, against the Portland Trail Blazers, on TNT.

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