Rockets lean on Westbrook to beat Bucks, Spurs still alive in playoff hunt
Miami, USA, Aug 3 (efe-epa).- The Houston Rockets showed their defensive resilience to surge to a 120-116 victory over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.
Star guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden scored 31 and 26 points respectively, but it was on defense that the Rockets really shined, particularly in the game’s closing stages.
Westbrook continued his streak of scoring at least 20 points per game to 36, as the Rockets equalled the NBA record for most three-point attempts in a game with 61, making 21 of them.
Another dominating performance from MVP favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was two assists shy of a triple-double after putting up 36 points and 18 rebounds, but his exploits were not enough to avoid defeat for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo joined Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in becoming the only players to score at least 30 points, make 15 rebounds and 5 assists in 15 consecutive games in the last 50 years.
The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, are starting to feel like they have a chance of making the Western Conference playoffs, after beating fellow playoff chasers the Memphis Grizzlies.
DeMar DeRozan sank two free throws with one second left to play, handing the Spurs a 108-106 victory over the Grizzlies and lifting them to 9th place in the West, within
San Antonio had arrived at the Walt Disney Resort, where the NBA season is being completed with all players and staff in a so-called quarantine “bubble”, in 11th place, but following wins against the Sacramento Kings and Memphis they are now just two games behind the Grizzlies in the 8th and final playoff berth.
Dejounte Murray scored 21 points, made 10 rebounds and three assists to lead the Spurs, with Derrick White adding 16 and DeRozan putting up 14 points.
The Grizzlies were led by Ja Morant, who scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made nine assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr. posted 21 points in Memphis’ losing effort.
The Dallas Mavericks, who have already clinched their place in the postseason, slipped to a 117-115 defeat against the Phoenix Suns, despite Luka Doncic again impressing with a huge 40 points and 11 rebounds.
The Suns, who were down by 10 at one stage, were led by Devin Booker and Spain’s Ricky Rubio, who scored 30 and 20 points respectively.
The comeback will frustrate Dallas, who were forced to pay dearly for defensive lapses, although they secured their playoff place despite the defeat thanks to Memphis’ loss.
For the third-ranked Boston Celtics, who have clinched their place in the postseason, Jayson Tatum scored 34 points on the way to a 128-124 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jaylen Brown ably supported Tatum, adding 30 points as well as making six rebounds.
Damian Lillard had 30 points and 16 assists for Portland, while Jusuf Nurkic added 30 points in his second game back from injury after breaking a leg in March of last year. EFE-EPA