Rockets shoot down Nets, Bulls and NBA champion Bucks fall
Los Angeles (AFP) – The Houston Rockets pushed their NBA winning streak to seven games on Wednesday with a 114-104 victory over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets as the top three Eastern Conference teams suffered setbacks.
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Eric Gordon scored 21 points before he was ejected in the fourth quarter and Garrison Matthews added 19 for the Rockets, who have their first seven-game winning streak since they won eight in a row in November of 2019.
James Harden, playing his second game in Houston since he was traded to the Nets in January, had 25 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Nets, who rested league scoring leader Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge.
In Cleveland, Darius Garland scored 24 points and rookie Evan Mobley added 16 with nine rebounds as the Cavaliers beat the depleted Bulls 115-92.
The Cavs posted their biggest winning margin of the season against the Bulls, the second-ranked team in the East.
Earlier in the day the Bulls saw Matt Thomas become their fourth player to enter Covid-19 protocols after testing positive for coronavirus.
Thomas had made the trip to Cleveland, but Bulls coach Billy Donovan received word early Wednesday morning that he would not be available.
Donovan, however, said after the blowout defeat that the available players had to step up.
"We're better than that," Donovan said. "And we need to be better than that. I don’t know when or who is coming back on what dates. My feeling is right now, we're going into Miami with the same group, and if we don’t compete at a higher level, we're going to get the same result we got here tonight. ... It's not to say we're going to win, but we can do a better job than we did tonight."
The Heat will host the Bulls on Saturday coming off a 113-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday -- just the second defeat in a dozen games for the reigning NBA champions who are lying third in the East.
With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler sidelined by injury, forward Caleb Martin led the heat with a career-high 28 points.
Martin, starting in place of Butler who was absent with a tailbone bruise, made a career-high six three-pointers in eight attempts. He pulled down eight rebounds, handed out three assists and blocked two shots.
Heat guard Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and handed out 13 assists, sparking Miami's big third quarter with 16 points in the period on efficient six-of-10 shooting.
The Heat out-scored the Bucks 39-26 in the third period to erase a seven-point halftime deficit and take a six-point lead into the final quarter.
Max Strus kept things going, scoring all of his 16 points in the final frame as the Heat held on.
Wizards win in overtime
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points as the Heat limited the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player to four-of-13 shooting from the field.
Jrue Holiday led the Bucks with 27 points and Khris Middleton added 20, but the Bucks couldn't overcome the Heat's franchise record-equaling 22 three-pointers.
In Detroit, Washington forward Kyle Kuzma broke Pistons' hearts, draining a three-pointer with six-tenths of a second left in overtime to lift the Wizards to a 119-116 victory.
Kuzma scored 26 points and Bradley Beal added 25 for the Wizards, who held on after letting a late double-digit lead slip away and handed the Pistons a 10th straight defeat.
Jerami Grant scored 28 points for Detroit and Cade Cunningham scored eight straight in overtime to knot the score with 24.6 seconds
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