Bledsoe scores 23 to lead Bucks past Rockets, 108-94

ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 27, 2019 10:55 AM
Bledsoe scores 23 to lead Bucks past Rockets, 108-94
Milwaukee Bucks' Eric Bledsoe dunks during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 108-94. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

By Rich Rovito, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Eric Bledsoe scored 23 points, including 16 in a decisive third quarter, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Houston Rockets 108-94 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Milwaukee, which improved to an NBA-best 56-19.

James Harden scored 23 and Chris Paul 19 for Houston, which lost for just the third time in 17 games. Harden shot just 9-of-26, including 1-for-9 from three-point range with Bledsoe closely guarding him throughout most of the game.

After a tightly contested first half, the Bucks grabbed control in the third, sparked by Bledsoe's clutch shooting. Leading by five at halftime, Milwaukee built a 19-point lead in the third. Bledsoe went 4-of-5 on three-pointers in the period after missing his only two attempts in the first half. His third-quarter output nearly matched the 18 points scored by Houston.

Milwaukee held the Rockets at bay for most of the final quarter, maintaining a double-digit lead throughout before clearing the bench with about a minute left.

The Rockets jumped out early, building a 10-point first-quarter lead without Harden doing the bulk of the scoring. Danuel House Jr. paced Houston with nine points in the period, making all three of his three-point attempts. The Bucks struggled in the opening period, shooting just 8-of-25, including 3-for-13 from deep. Khris Middleton missed all six of his shots in the first quarter.

Milwaukee fought back in the second and eventually grabbed the lead. A key sequence came midway through the quarter when, after a basket by Ersan Ilyasova, Bledsoe stole the inbounds pass, scored and then stood face-to-face with Harden under the basket as the crowd roared.

The Bucks led 58-53 at the break, paced by Antetokounmpo's 13 points and eight rebounds.

Paul scored 14 and Harden 12 in the half for Houston. Harden, P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon combined to shoot 1-for-9 from three-point range over the first two quarters.

The Bucks outscored the Rockets 19-0 on fast-break points in the first half.


Rockets: Gordon started despite dealing with an injured right ankle sustained Sunday (Monday, PHL time). . F/C Kenneth Faried sat out with a sore left knee. .G/F Gerald Green is expected to be out for 7-to-10 days with a strained adductor.

Bucks: G Tony Snell didn't play due to a left ankle sprain. Snell rolled the ankle Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in the second half versus Cleveland. Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said he expects Snell to return for the start of the playoffs. . G Donte DiVincenzo (bilateral heel bursitis), C Pau Gasol (left ankle soreness), G Malcolm Brogdon (right foot plantar fascia) and F Nikola Mirotic (left thumb sprain/fracture) remained out.


Rockets: Host the Denver Nuggets on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).

Bucks: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).

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