EditorsNote: Notes in lead game played in Houston; other minor edits
Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a triple-double before fouling out, and the Milwaukee Bucks erased a 16-point deficit to rally past the host Houston Rockets 117-111 Thursday.
Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists before picking up his sixth foul with 5:18 remaining.
The Bucks led 101-95 at that juncture, but they did not collapse with the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player watching from the bench. A collective effort carried Milwaukee to victory in the regular-season opener for both teams, as seven Bucks scored in double figures.
Wesley Matthews had 14 points while Ersan Ilyasova, who gave Milwaukee its first lead at 91-90 on a second-chance basket with 8:34 remaining in the contest, added 13 for the Bucks. Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez scored 11 points apiece, and Pat Connaughton added 10.
Ilyasova also contributed 11 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook produced 24 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in his Houston debut while James Harden added 19 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. Clint Capela finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Harden shot just 2-for-13 from the floor, and the Rockets misfired on 22 of 27 3-pointers after halftime to fuel the Bucks’ comeback.
Even with Harden unable to find his shot, the Rockets roared to an early lead. Harden still managed to connect on all eight of his attempts from the free-throw line, and with the Bucks’ wayward shooting, Houston forged a 26-13 lead when Tyson Chandler scored through a foul with three minutes left in the first period.
Antetokounmpo was largely quiet save for a brief seven-point spurt early in the second quarter, and the Bucks relied on Connaughton to keep them afloat. Not only did Connaughton score 10 consecutive points for Milwaukee during one stretch in the second, but his playmaking proved critical in breaking down the Rockets’ defense. Still, Houston remained hot from deep.
At the half, the Rockets were 11 of 21 from behind the arc. Harden did not convert a field goal until 1:40 remained in the first half. That was the second of his two field goals before the break.
—Field Level Media