Tue, 21 Mar 2023

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Giannis Antetokounmpo had 46 points on his return as the Milwaukee Bucks rallied past the Sacramento Kings 133-124, while the Houston Rockets shocked the Boston Celtics 111-109 on Monday.

Antetokounmpo, who had missed the Bucks' last three games, also grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out four assists.

Down by nine points at the break, the Bucks found their scoring touch in the third and fourth quarters, piling up 80 points in the second half to complete their comeback.

The Bucks scored six straight points on a 3-pointer by Brook Lopez and three free throws by Khris Middleton to take a 106-100 lead with under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, while Sacramento scored the next eight points and took a two-point lead midway through the quarter.

Antetokounmpo made two free throws to cap a 7-0 run that put Milwaukee up 113-108 with five minutes to play, and the Kings got no closer than two points throughout the rest of the game.

Middleton helped with 31 points and Lopez added 23. The Bucks improved to 49-19 and have opened up a 2.5-game lead at the top of the Eastern Conference over Boston, who was surprisingly beaten by lowly Houston.

The Rockets, who are tied with the Detroit Pistons for the fewest wins with 16, snapped a three-game skid despite Jaylen Brown scoring a season-high 43 points for the Celtics.

Boston trailed by 11 with over four minutes to go before using a late run to get within striking distance. Brown made two free throws to cut Houston's lead to one with less than a minute remaining.

Kenyon Martin Jr. missed a 3-point attempt afterwards but grabbed his own rebound. Jalen Green was fouled with 10 seconds to go and made both free throws.

Brown made a layup to get Boston within one again. Jabari Smith Jr. then made one of two free throws. Jayson Tatum missed a layup and the Celtics saw their chance to tie it at the buzzer slip away.

Green scored 28 points and rookie Smith added 24 for Houston. On the Boston side, Tatum scored 22 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 20.

Also on Monday, the Detroit Pistons ended an 11-game losing streak with a 117-97 win over the Indiana Pacers, the Minnesota Timberwolves crushed the Atlanta Hawks 136-115, the Miami Heat held off the Utah Jazz 119-115, the Memphis Grizzlies sailed past the Dallas Mavericks 104-88, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Phoenix Suns 123-112.

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