Pistons bounce back, Harden fuels Rockets win
By Agence France-Presse
Andre Drummond scored a season-high 27 points as the Detroit Pistons rebounded from a crushing defeat with a 129-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
The Pistons were coming off a devastating loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday in which Detroit surrendered a 23-point third-quarter lead.
There was no sign of a late-game let-down on Monday as the Pistons turned a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter into a 26–point win.
They never trailed in the second half, leading by as many as 29 points.
Drummond’s sparkling effort included 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.
Stanley Johnson scored 21 points and Blake Griffin added 17.
The Pistons reserves, out-scored 80-17 in the loss to the Clippers, came through with 60 points against the Nuggets, Detroit’s bench players expanding the lead to start both the second and fourth quarters.
They helped make the difference on a night when all five Denver starters scored in double figures, led by Monte Morris’s 18 points. Nevertheless, Denver saw their six-game win streak snapped and dropped out of a tie with the Golden State Warriors for first place in the Western Conference.
“I like the way our guys responded,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Enthusiasm and togetherness.”
– Harden streaks on –
NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden scored 14 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter — notching his 20th 40-point game of the season in the Houston Rockets’ 118-110 victory over the lowly Phoenix Suns.
Harden, who pulled down eight rebounds and handed out six assists, extended his streak of games with 30 or more points to 27.
The Suns, who dropped their 11th straight, trailed by as many as 20 in the third quarter but cut the deficit to single digits in the fourth.
Harden produced 11 points in a four-minute span — including a 31-foot three-pointer that pushed the Rockets lead to 15 points with 3:06 remaining — as Houston sealed the win.
The Milwaukee Bucks pushed their league-leading record to 39-13 with a 113-94 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and handed out nine assists for Milwaukee, who won their fourth straight.
The crowd at the Barclays Center included former US President Bill Clinton and three-time major golf champion Brooks Koepka.
Clinton and his wife, Hillary, have a home in suburban New York and he said he tries to take on a couple of games in Brooklyn each season.
But he was invited to the game by Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry and enjoyed the chance to watch Antetokounmpo.
“He’s unbelievable,” Clinton said of Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player candidate. “He’s really come into his own this year.”
Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points and Eric Bledsoe scored 15 for the Bucks, who have won 10 of their last 11 games.
The injury-depleted Nets offered little resistance, connecting on just 32.4 percent of their shots from the field — including making just five of 37 attempted three-pointers.
Indiana guard Darren Collison starred in the Pacers’ 109-107 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Collison scored 11 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, draining a three-pointer, a jump shot and a free throw in the last two minutes as the Pacers held on for the win.