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Westbrook shines late for Rockets as Bucks crumble

The Houston Rockets notched their second straight win in the bubble after toppling the Milwaukee Bucks, 120-116, in come-from-behind fashion on Sunday, August 2 (Monday, August 3, Manila time).

Russell Westbrook flirted with a near triple-double of 31 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds as he led the late surge the Rockets used to take down the team with the best NBA record.

The Bucks had the game in the bag after leading 112-104 with 3 minutes remaining, but the Rockets flipped the switch off a 9-0 run highlighted with some spectacular plays from Westbrook.

"It's amazing," Westbrook said. "We fought through. Adversity showed up and we showed off. All the guys in our locker room showed up to play for 48 minutes."

Westbrook drilled in a two pointer, assisted PJ Tucker for a triple, before he gave the Rockets a 113-112 lead with 1:41 minutes remaining.

Giannis Antetokounmpo put the Bucks back up front with a layup, 116-115 but that was the last time they tasted the lead as the Rockets scored the last 5 points – all on free throws.

James Harden delivered 24 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 steals for the Rockets, Danuel House Jr had 16 points and 4 rebounds, while Robert Covington had 15 points and 7 rebounds.

Tucker chipped in 11 points and 4 rebounds for the Rockets, who improved to 42-24 and extended their overall winning streak to 3 games.

Antetokounmpo posted MVP numbers of 36 points, 18 rebounds, and 8 assists, but he did not help the Bucks' cause when he committed a crucial turnover in the last 20 seconds.

Down by a single point, the Bucks had a chance regain the upper hand only to witness Antetokounmpo throw the ball away during a drive attempt.

"We've got to keep executing at the end of close games," Antetokounmpo said. "We weren't able to do that. We've got to find the open man and hit more shots."

Khris Middleton finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Brook Lopez churned out 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the Bucks, who still lead the NBA with a 54-13 record. – With a report from Agence France-Presse

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.

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