Giannis Antetokounmpo grabs career-high 21 rebounds, Bucks beat Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo grabs career-high 21 rebounds, Bucks beat Rockets

Malcolm Brogdon contributed 24 points to the win.

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The Bucks led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, but Harden and the Rockets had whittled that lead to three with less than two minutes remaining.

"He's up there", Harden said. "We couldn't get out in transition. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there, because that's what I want to be". The half ended with a Middleton jumper to cut the Houston lead to 60-54.

Antetokounmpo scored the dagger points in a fitting manner, flying in from the wing for a tip-in that put the Bucks up six points with 39.1 seconds to play.

Harden, however, then missed his next four shots.

"All I care about is winning, to be honest with you", Antetokounmpo said after scoring 27 points, grabbing a career-high 21 rebounds and dishing out five assists for the East-leading Bucks in the win.

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Giannis finished with 59.7 FanDuel points in the win.

Coach Mike D'Antoni credited Milwaukee's big defensive duo of Brook Lopez and Antetokounmpo for making things tough on Capela.

Harden had 42 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists but was 13-of-30 from the floor and committed nine turnovers. Gerald Green chipped in 16 points off the bench. It opened up an opportunity for Antetokounmpo to seal the deal by going on a personal 5-0 run. He missed all six of his 3-point attempts.

The ball bounced hard off his face back to Antetokounmpo, who found Ersan Ilyasova for a three.

Antetokounmpo was apologetic during his postgame media availability, saying he had no intention of hitting Harden.

"It was insane because it was so hard for the ball to be able to bounce from one side of the floor to the other side of the floor that's how you know how hard the pass was", he said.

But beyond those two headlining the show of potential title contenders, the victor of the contest was always going to come down to which team's supporting cast came through more consistently to ease the burden off of their superstar's shoulders. "It hurt. ... I wish I would have seen it".

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