Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t going to join the debate about whether he should be an early favorite for MVP after he led the Bucks to a victory over the Rockets and last season’s MVP, James Harden, on Wednesday night.
The young forward was just happy his team was leaving Houston with a 116-109 win.
“All I care about is winning,” Antetokounmpo said. “I know by winning and doing whatever it takes to help your teammates and leaving everything out on the floor, everything will take care of itself, the titles and all that.”
Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds to help Milwaukee withstand a 42-point performance from Harden.
In this matchup of early front-runners for MVP, Harden and his teammates were undone by a shooting slump late in the third quarter that spilled into the fourth and left them down by 15 points.
“We just got stagnant and defensively I think we allowed 38 points in that quarter — way too many — especially at home, and so there you go,” Harden said. “We couldn’t get out in transition. We couldn’t get to where we want to go because we couldn’t get any stops.”
Lakers 113, Pistons 100: Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points and host Los Angeles improved to 3-5 playing without injured LeBron James. Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four three-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls.
Grizzlies 96, Spurs 86: Marc Gasol had 26 points and 14 rebounds and host Memphis ended a six-game skid.
Nets 115, Hawks 100: D’Angelo Russell scored 23 points, Ed Davis grabbed 16 rebounds, and host Brooklyn climbed out of a 19-point hole to beat Atlanta, which got 30 points and 14 rebounds from John Collins.
Pelicans 140, Cavaliers 124: Anthony Davis had 38 points and 13 rebounds and host New Orleans overcame a slow start to pull away for its third straight victory. Cleveland has lost 11 in a row.
Trail Blazers 124, Bulls 112: CJ McCollum had 24 points and Portland took control in the final quarter to send Chicago to its fifth straight loss. Wendell Carter Jr. had 22 points to lead the Bulls in the first of a five-game road trip.
Celtics 135, Pacers 108: Marcus Morris had 22 points and eight rebounds, Jayson Tatum had 20 points and Boston routed visiting Indiana. Kyrie Irving had 12 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Celtics put together their highest-scoring game this season to get their fourth straight win.
Mavericks 104, Suns 94: Luka Doncic scored 30 points and host Dallas ended a seven-game losing streak against Phoenix. T.J. Warren scored 20 points for the Suns. Scoring leader Devin Booker missed the Sacramento game and was out again in Dallas with back spasms.
Jazz 106, Magic 93: Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and seven assists and Utah rallied to beat Orlando, which ended a six-game trip with four straight losses.
Wizards 123, 76ers 106: Bradley Beal scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 34 to help host Washington earn a split of a home-and-home set.
Briefly: The Thunder’s Nerlens Noel was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol after he collided with Andrew Wiggins and hit the floor Tuesday night during Oklahoma City’s loss to the Timberwolves. … Memphis swingman Dillon Brooks will have surgery on a ruptured ligament in his right big toe hurt during a loss in San Antonio on Saturday.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Giannis-Antetokounmpo-scores-27-to-lead-Bucks-13522660.php.