Sports

Harden powers Rockets to first home win, Lopez leads Bucks

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) – James Harden drained eight three pointers en route to a season-high 40 points as the Houston Rockets won their first home game with a 115-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Harden added nine assists and seven rebounds and Chris Paul tallied 26 points for the Rockets, who had lost their first four home games of the season.

“It's nice to get a win,” Paul said. “We've obviously been struggling, but we've got to keep building.”

The win comes as the Rockets try to figure out what to do with journeyman Carmelo Anthony, whose poor play has mirrored the Rockets' start.

Anthony, who is in his first year in Houston, sat out for the second straight game with what the team described as an undisclosed illness. US media is reporting that Anthony can expect to be waived soon.

Victor Oladipo had 22 points for the Pacers, who have lost three of their last four games.

The Pacers went on a five point burst late in the fourth to cut the Rockets' lead to just five, but Harden answered with two free throws to help put the game out of reach.

“When we're like that we're going to score a bunch of points and if our defence can keep improving then we're the team that we want to be,” coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Elsewhere, Brook Lopez scored a career-high eight three pointers as all five Milwaukee starters finished in double figures to lead the Bucks to a 121-114 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, Khris Middleton had 21 points, and Malcolm Brogdon added 20 for the Bucks, who recorded their first win in Denver since 2010.

“We do not want to be a good team, we want to be a great team,” Antetokounmpo said. “Great teams, no matter what, come back.

“You've got to keep fighting and keep playing within your game plan and you hope things work. You hope you can knock down shots. That's what we did.”

Paul Milsap led the Nuggets with 25 points and Nikola Jokic added 20. Denver has lost three straight.

Lopez didn't make a single basket from beyond the arc in his first six NBA seasons, but he's transformed into a consistent three-point threat.

Lopez made at least six three-pointers in three of his last four games and is shooting 38.8 per cent from deep this season.

The game remained tight until Brogdon connected on a three-pointer and Middleton nailed a jump shot to give the Bucks a 117-112 lead with 41 seconds remaining.

In the late game, LeBron James dunked for the eventual winning basket and Tyson Chandler made a game-saving defensive stop in the final seconds, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to a 107-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

James finished with 26 points and Kyle Kuzma added 18 points as the Lakers moved above 500 for the first time this season.

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