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|11-30-2014, 01:00 AM||#1|
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James Harden scores 34 in Rockets 117-103 win
James Harden had 19 of his game-high 34 points in the decisive third quarter and the Houston Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 117-103 on Saturday night.
Rookie Jabari Parker scored 19 points and Ersan Ilyasova added 18 for Milwaukee, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Harden and Bucks center Larry Sanders jostled near center court with 3:19 left in the game with Houston leading handily. Harden had been called for an offensive foul, and was holding the ball walking down the court when Giannis Antetokounmpo slapped him on the rear and knocked the ball away.
Harden gave a slight shove with his left hand to the 19-year-old Bucks player, and Sanders ran up to Harden, and both players grabbed each other's arms. Harden, Sanders and Antetokounmpo all were given technical fouls after the referees reviewed the video.
About a minute earlier, Harden had thrown an elbow that hit Antetokounmpo in the shoulder. Sanders got involved and argued vehemently with Harden.
When Sanders scored on a dunk on the Bucks next possession, he stared at Harden and chest bumped Antetokounmpo.
The game was no longer in doubt when the theatrics occurred, and Harden was the key player in Houston's seventh road win in eight games this year.
After playing 38 minutes Friday night, Harden scored 17 of the Rockets final 21 points in the third quarter as Houston extended a seven-point halftime lead to 85-72 going into the fourth quarter. Milwaukee never got within single digits in the fourth.
The key play in the third occurred when Donatas Motiejunas and Tarik Black each grabbed offensive rebounds on one Houston possession. With the possession extended, Harden made the team's third shot count, hitting a 3-pointer, getting fouled by O.J. Mayo and converting the free throw. It extended Houston's lead to 68-52 and Milwaukee never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Harden was 9 of 14 from the field, and made 12-of-13 free throws with eight assists and six rebounds in 45 minutes.
The Rockets were playing their sixth consecutive game without Dwight Howard (knee strain) and also were missing two other starters and backup point guard Isaiah Canaan.
Canaan was hurt in the Rockets Friday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, so Houston turned to 37-year-old Jason Terry, who started for the first time this season. The veteran scored a season-high 18 points with six rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.
Donatas Motiejunas had 20 points for Houston.
Harden had 12 points in the first half and Houston led, 53-46 at halftime.
Rockets: Trevor Ariza has made only 20-of-64 shots in his last five games. He was 5 for 18 Saturday with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Bucks: Zaza Pachulia (personal reasons) and John Henson (sprained left foot) missed the game. . O.J. Mayo had his third consecutive poor shooting night, making only 2 of 10 from the field. In his last three games, he is 9 for 32.
Rockets: Host the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Bucks: At Cleveland Tuesday.