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Rockets hold off Bucks despite Antetokounmpo's big night




LOS ANGELES, January 8 ------ Alperen Sengun scored 21 points to lead seven Houston players in double figures and the Rockets withstood a 48-point performance from Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 112-108 NBA victory over the Bucks. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo added 17 rebounds for a seventh straight double-double, but it wasn't enough in a game that saw Houston take control early before fending off a fourth-quarter Bucks charge. 

  

Sengun added 11 rebounds and four assists and Jeff Green and Jalen Green added 16 points apiece for the Rockets, who emerged from a tight first quarter with an 11-point lead that they pushed to 20 at halftime. The Bucks trailed by as many as 18 early in the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to 110-105 on Antetokounmpo's put-back basket with 7.9 seconds remaining. Houston's Fred VanVleet made a pair of free throws to finally put it out of reach. "We just relied on our defense," Jeff Green said. "We've been in these situations plenty of times, we've relied on each other. We got the stops when we needed them and made big shots." Antetokounmpo's 18th career game of 45 or more points tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most in Bucks franchise history. 

  

In Indianapolis, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 69 points and the Boston Celtics again kept the potent Indiana Pacers offense in check in a 118-101 victory. Tatum scored 38 points and Brown added 31 for the league-leading Celtics, who held the Pacers to a season-low in points as they snapped Indiana's six-game winning streak. Boston, who restricted the Pacers to their previous season low in points in their 155-104 win on November 1, were dialed in defensively, holding the Pacers to 17 points in the first quarter. But the Celtics suffered an early blow when Kristaps Porzingis exited in the first quarter with an eye laceration and the Pacers clawed back. Aided by 18 Celtics turnovers 12 of them in the first half the Pacers chipped away at a 16-point deficit and trailed 58-49 at halftime. 

  

Indiana, who eliminated the Celtics from the NBA in-season tournament in December, cut the deficit to 84-81 heading into the fourth, but the Celtics powered away in the final period. Tatum made a season-high eight three-pointers half of the Celtics' 16. He added 13 rebounds and six assists. "We know they can put up 160," Tatum said. "That's one of the best offenses in the league. They play with pace. They share the ball. They can shoot, so you've got to be locked in when you come to Indiana." 

  

Bennedict Mathurin led the Pacers with 20 points off the bench. Tyrese Haliburton added 17 points and seven assists and came up with five steals. Elsewhere, Julius Randle scored 39 points and Jalen Brunson added 33 to lead the New York Knicks to a fourth straight victory, a 121-105 rout of the Wizards in Washington. The Knicks, coming off a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, led by as many as 26 in the wire-to-wire victory. The Utah Jazz handed the short-handed 76ers a second straight defeat, 120-109 in Philadelphia. 

  

The 76ers were without reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, who sat out with swelling in his left knee. Philadelphia were also without injured Tobias Harris and De'Anthony Melton and ailing Robert Covington. Lauri Markkanen scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Tyrese Maxey led Philadelphia with 25 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 24 but Philadelphia fell to 2-6 without Embiid this season. 

  

Source: mb.com.ph 

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