Bucks, Warriors record wins

...Harden extends streak, Rockets lose cool in loss to Lakers

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Khris Middleton nailed a three pointer in the final seconds and Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points as the league- leading Milwaukee Bucks edged the Boston Celtics 98-97 yesterday.

Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.2 points a game this season, scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Bucks, who also won the season series over the Celtics two games to one.

Antetokounmpo added 13 rebounds and Middleton had 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points for the Bucks, who have won 15 of the last 17 games, including nine of the last 10.

This was the first game back from the all-star break for both teams as Milwaukee improved to 44-14 on the season.

Antetokounmpo's hand-picked all-star team lost to one selected by LeBron James. But he scored 38 of his team's 164 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists.

Al Horford finished with 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for Boston against Milwaukee, and Jayson Tatum had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving tallied 22 points and had a chance to win the game for Boston, but he stumbled while driving to the basket and missed an awkward shot as time expired.

“Kyrie with the ball. That's what we wanted,” Horford said. “Get the ball in Kyrie's hands. Let him create. I felt like we put ourselves in a good position there.”

Irving has battled a variety of injuries this season. He missed two games prior to the all-star break with a strained right knee.

The Celtics have now lost three of their last five games.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry scored 36 points and drained 10 three pointers, allowing the Golden State Warriors to complete a season-series sweep of the Sacramento Kings with a 125-123 victory.

Kevin Durant added 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his career-high with seven blocks as the Warriors survived a hectic finish.

DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team since signing with the Warriors in the offseason.

The four-game sweep was the Warriors' fourth in the past six seasons over the Kings. But there was just a 12-point total margin of victory in the four wins this season.

The Warriors led most of the fourth quarter behind Curry's 11 points. The two-time league MVP shot 12 of 23 overall and was 10 of 16 three-point range.

Golden State still had to hold on though to avoid suffering back-to-back losses.

James Harden passed Wilt Chamberlain for the second longest 30-point-plus streak in NBA history, but the Houston star fouled out in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 111-106.

Harden has now scored 30 points or more in 32 consecutive games but his early exit was followed moments later by Chris Paul's sixth foul of the game as the Rockets imploded down the stretch to hand the Lakers the win.

Chamberlain previously had the second longest streak at 31 games and also holds the outright record with a streak of 65 30-point-plus games.

LeBron James scored 29 points, Brandon Ingram added 27 as Los Angeles rallied from a 19-point deficit midway through the third quarter in front of a crowd of 18,900 at Staples Centre.

The Lakers trailed for most of the game and were down 95-88 with 7:49 remaining when they went on a 17-4 run over a six-minute span.

The Rockets lead the league in three-point attempts and live and die by the long ball. They struggled mightily to make a three pointer in the fourth and then — to lose their two top offensive weapons down the stretch — was just too much to overcome.

Houston also lost their cool. At one point both Paul and coach Mike D'Antoni were slapped with technical fouls and by the time the Lakers finished shooting their free throws they had stretched the lead to 109-101 in the final minute.

It was Los Angeles' sixth comeback victory this season when trailing by 15 or more at any point.

Harden led Houston with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists before fouling out with 1:24 remaining. Paul added 23 points before fouling out.

Harden is in the running to win the NBA's Most Valuable Player award for a second straight season.

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