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Basketball / Sports

Bucks fall to Rockets, who recover from historic loss to win behind Terrence Jones' play

HOUSTON -- Dwight Howard and James Harden regularly put some fear into opponents of the Houston Rockets.

But Terrence Jones?

The former Kentucky player is beginning to emerge as a third scoring option for the Rockets, and he broke out in a big way to lead Houston to a 114-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.

Jones scored a career-best 36 points as Houston (27-15) bounced back from a humbling defeat to Oklahoma City on Thursday, when the Rockets managed just 19 points in the second half.

The Rockets had no such worries against the woeful Bucks (7-32), who lost their eighth straight game before heading to San Antonio to meet the Spurs on Sunday night.

Jones' big night was no great surprise to Bucks guard Brandon Knight, who played with him when both were freshmen at Kentucky during the 2010-'11 season.

"That's like my brother," Knight said. "I know the type of player he is, how talented he is and the things he's been through.

"Just to see how his game has grown and how he's fitting in with a championship-caliber team, it's a special thing. I'm just proud of him, really.

"He paid his dues there (at Kentucky). When he first got here, he paid his dues."

The left-handed shooting Jones matched his previous career high (25 points set on Wednesday at New Orleans) in the first half, and he scored 21 in the second quarter on 7-of-7 shooting.

"He was very aggressive early," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "He just manhandled us, on hustle plays.

"It's one thing to go into a game trying to slow down Dwight and James Harden, and defend those guys at the three-point line. But you don't factor in a guy having that type of a game.

"But he played a much more physical game. He beasted us."

Jones played in only 19 games as a rookie with Houston last season and averaged just 5.5 points and 3.4 rebounds.

"A lot of people underestimate his length," Knight said of the 6-foot-9, 252-pound Jones. "Those are things he brings, physicality, length, athleticism and a pretty good skill set for a guy his size."

Houston's physical dominance was reflected in 66 paint points, tying a season high.

Howard added 20 points and 14 rebounds and Harden contributed 22 points despite going just 1 for 6 beyond the three-point arc.

The Bucks trailed, 62-52, at halftime and cut their deficit to seven points late in the third quarter.

But a 9-0 Houston run that included a rare corner three-pointer by Howard pushed the Rockets in front, 89-73, and the Bucks never mounted a solid threat in the final quarter.

Knight led Milwaukee with 26 points and seven assists and second-year forward John Henson added 20 points and 15 rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench.

Henson was playing in just his third game since returning from a left ankle sprain.

"I felt good," Henson said. "I'm back in action.

"Hopefully we can all come together at one time and push ahead. It's rough right now but looking ahead I think it's going to get a lot better."

Luke Ridnour added 14 points, while Larry Sanders had 12 and rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 10.

The Bucks committed 20 turnovers leading to 26 Houston points, all in the first three quarters.

"You just are not going to be successful turning the basketball over on the road and against a good ballclub," Drew said.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale thought his team used its bulk to its advantage.

"They (the Bucks) have a lot of length but we had a little bit more girth out there than they did," McHale said. "That's usually the other way around for us.

"I thought Dwight was unbelievably efficient. We had 13 offensive rebounds and 22 second-chance points. I thought that was huge for us."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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