Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today

Rockets Can't Overcome Second Half Drought In Loss To Bucks

23-1 run helps Bucks in showcase between NBA's leading MVP contenders

January 10, 2019 - 12:08 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- With the help of a 23-1 second half run the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Rockets Wednesday night at Toyota Center 116-109.

The extended burst began with 3:44 left in the third quarter and the Rockets up seven. Milwaukee capped a 17-1 run that ended the quarter on a 2-handed put-back by Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to go up by 15 points. The Rockets battled back and got within three when James Harden hit a floater with 2:37 to play, but he missed back-to-back threes on the Rockets next possession that would've tied the game. Antetokounmpo split a pair of free throws, and after Harden missed another three, his tap-in on a Khris Middleton missed floater put the game away, dropping the Rockets record to 23-17 on the season.

Antetokounmpo finished with 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 21 rebounds and five assists as the Bucks improve to a league-best 29-11.

Malcolm Brogdon added 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Despite trailing by seven early on, Austin Rivers hit a three at the buzzer to put the Rockets up 29-26 after a quarter. The lead would grow to five when Rivers started the second quarter with a pair of free throws, but Brogdon's layup with 8:34 left before halftime tied the game, though, the Rockets scored the next seven points and would lead by as many as 10. The half ended with a Middleton jumper to cut the Houston lead to 60-54. Harden finished the first half with 23 points, 17 came in the second quarter.

Milwaukee started the second half with a 14-4 spurt to take their first lead since the first quarter, but after Houston answered with a 16-5 run, the Bucks took over.

Harden finished with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, but he also had nine turnovers. Clint Capela added 18 points and 13 rebounds, but shot just 4-of-16 from the field. Gerald Green chipped in 16 points off the bench.

The Rockets will finish their 3-game homestand Friday when they take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.