With 7:46 reminding in the fourth quarter, Russell Westbrook threw down a two-handed dunk that was assisted by James Harden. As both celebrated, the Houston Rockets held a 95-91 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, with Giannis Antetokounmpo watching from the sidelines after picking up his sixth personal foul.
This four-point lead would prove to be the last time Houston was out front, as the Bucks took home a 117-111 victory over the Rockets Thursday night, inside the Toyota Center in Houston. Although his night came to an early end due to foul troubles, Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee from a 16-point deficit en route to a triple-double performance of 30 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds in the win.
On a night where he shot 2-for-13 (19 points) from the field, Rockets star guard, James Harden, took full responsibility for the loss.
“I did not play well offensively the entire night,” he said. “This one is on me, I was not aggressive enough.”
The Rockets came out attacking both ends of the court, but none more so than on defense. In what appeared to be a 2-3 Zone to open up the game, Houston held Milwaukee to 36.0% shooting from the field, 26.7% from 3, as Houston held a 30-23 lead after the first quarter.
The Rockets increased their lead to 16 points heading into the half before Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks go on a 14-5 run in the third quarter. After shooting 52.4% from deep, the Rockets ended the game struggling as they shot 18% from behind the arc. Eric Gordon had a rough night shooting 3-for-12 on 3-point attempts.
“Eric Gordon had five or six wide-open shots that are normally cash that went in and out,” Harden said after the loss. “It goes like that, It’s a make or miss league.”
In his official debut, Russell Westbrook notched a double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds. Head coach Mike D’Antoni was impressed with his performance despite the loss.
“He was rolling,” D’Antoni said. “It’ll be fun to watch when the lights turn on, he’s got that competitive spirit and his athleticism kicks in. He’s like a rocket out there. No pun intended.”
The Houston Rockets will look to bounce back from their subpar performance on Saturday, when they welcome in the New Orleans Pelicans to the Toyota Center in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 7 P.M.