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Giannis gets triple-double, Harden can’t hit the broadside of a barn and Bucks spoil Rockets home-opener

Rick Solem



Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) fouls Houston Rockets center Clint Capela during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out late in the fourth but it didn’t matter.

The Milwaukee Bucks came back from a 16-point halftime deficit, held last season’s MVP runner-up to 2-for-13 shooting and spoiled Russell Westbrook’s Houston Rockets debut with a 117-111 win.

Antetokounmpo finished with a triple-double — 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists — in just 28 minutes. The reigning MVP shot 11 of 17 from the field, 2 of 5 from 3-point range and 6-for-11 from the free-throw line. also had a steal, just three turnovers and this ridiculous block on Harden.

Harden, who finished with 19 points, 14 assists, scored just four in the second half — all free throws in the fourth — going 0-for-7 with three of his seven turnovers, as the Bucks fought back to get the lead for the first time — 91-90 — with just 8:34 to go in the game, after a 13-3 run.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Westbrook was solid in his debut. He shot his typical 7 of 17 from the field, but did go 3-for-7 from deep and 7 of 11 from the line, finishing with 24 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists with just three turnovers.

Bucks newcomer Wes Matthews had 14 points, going 2-for-8 from deep.

Khris Middleton and his new, near-max contract, had 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

With Antetokounmpo out, it was Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova that carried the Bucks late — Ilyasova from the perimeter and Lopez from the post. The center finished with 11 points and five blocks, while Ilyasova had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting, 11 rebounds and multiple “charges taken” off the bench.

Milwaukee opens up home Saturday at 4 p.m. against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. Listen on WKTY 96.7 FM / 580 AM.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM and "liberal hack" | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse