NBA: Jalen Green, Rockets stay hot at home, fend off Bucks
Jalen Green scored a game-high 30 points and the Houston Rockets extended their home winning streak to four games with a 97-92 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Green was instrumental in carrying the Rockets, scoring over Brook Lopez with 1:55 remaining to provide Houston a 92-90 lead.
Green sank a pair of free throws with 34.6 seconds left to answer a driving layup by Giannis Antetokounmpo that knotted the score, and added another free throw after Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr. recorded a steal on a pass intended for Antetokounmpo in the post.
Jalen Green dropped a 30-piece and led the @HoustonRockets Q4 run to take the W at home!
— NBA (@NBA) December 12, 2022
Smith shot 1 for 9 but delivered a dogged defensive effort against Antetokounmpo, finishing with a career-high four steals to pair with 10 rebounds and six points, including two free throws with 18.1 seconds left. Kevin Porter Jr. added 18 points and seven assists while KJ Martin chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Houston, which shot just 6 of 27 on 3-pointers.
Jrue Holiday paced the Bucks with 25 points and eight assists while Bobby Portis paired 17 points with 15 rebounds off the bench. The Bucks shot just 36.7 percent overall and 12 of 43 on 3s. Antetokounmpo shot 7 of 17 from the field and collected 16 points and 18 rebounds.
The Bucks established a modest cushion with a 7-2 mini-run closing the third, following a second-chance dunk by Martin with a Holiday technical free throw, a second-chance basket from Portis and a cutting layup from Pat Connaughton on the heels of a Lopez block.
Portis’ free throws with 2.6 seconds left gave the Bucks the lead heading into the fourth, one the Rockets didn’t erase until Porter hit a pair of free throws with 2:45 left that tied the game at 90-90.
In a harbinger, the Rockets started 0 for 6 from behind the arc and didn’t connect from deep until Green buried a 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the first quarter, a basket that cut the Bucks’ largest lead of the opening period to 21-15.
That 3 by Green keyed a 14-4 run that bridged the first and second periods for Houston, with Daishen Nix giving the Rockets their first lead at 26-25 after parlaying a steal into a transition layup at the 10-minute mark of the second.
The Rockets continued that thrust throughout the second, shooting 60 percent inside the arc while darting to a six-point lead when Green followed an alley-oop dunk by Martin with a transition slam. But when Holiday and Portis nailed consecutive 3s, the Rockets’ lead was gone, with Houston needing an Alperen Sengun reverse dunk to carry a 50-48 lead into the intermission.