- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - James Harden scored 33 and the Houston Rockets hit 15 3-pointers to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 117-111 on Friday night.

Trevor Ariza added 24 for the Rockets. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with a career-high 27 points and 15 rebound.

The Rockets lead the league in 3-pointers made per game at 11.8. The 15 Friday were two shy of their season high and they improved to 30-7 when they make 10 or more.

Milwaukee trailed for much of the game, with a deficit reaching 18, but climbed within four with less than 40 seconds remaining in the fourth but the Rockets held on.

The Rockets drained 10 of their 3-pointers in the first half on just 17 attempts and Milwaukee’s defense had few answers.

Ariza led the shooting charge, hitting five of six 3-point attempts for 21 first-half points.

Harden scored 12 of his points from the free-throw line on 17 attempts. He leads the league in free throws made and attempted, and the Rockets improved to 26-2 when a player attempts eight or more.

John Henson, Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Jorge Gutierrez and Jerryd Bayless all scored in double figures for Milwaukee.

Houston led 68-56 at the half, with Milwaukee’s second-quarter paint dominance helping them keep pace. With center Joey Dorsey filling in for Dwight Howard (knee), the Bucks used their superior length to outscore the Rockets 60-46 in the paint.

Houston forward Josh Smith matched a career-high with four 3-pointers on just five attempts, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, narrowly missing out on his fourth career triple-double.

The Rockets won for the sixth time in their last seven and their fourth straight at home.

After committing just six turnovers in Wednesday night’s win over Chicago, their second lowest in a game all season, the Rockets played much sloppier on Friday night, turning the ball over 18 times.

Houston snapped Milwaukee’s three-game road winning streak, beating the Bucks for the 13th time in their last 15 trips to Houston.


Bucks: F Ersan Ilyasova returned to action for the first time in nearly two weeks after suffering a right groin strain on Jan. 27 against Miami. Bucks coach Jason Kidd said before the game that he expected him to play, with his minutes limited to less than 30, and Ilyasova played just under 16 minutes, scoring six points.

Rockets: Houston improved to 5-1 since losing Howard to a knee injury. He is expected to miss four weeks after receiving a bone marrow aspirate injection on Wednesday. … The Rockets had a season-high 32 assists.


Bucks: Home against Boston Celtics on Saturday.

Rockets: Host Portland Trailblazers on Sunday.

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