OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - Kevin Durant scored 29 points and established an early defensive tone against James Harden, leading the Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets 115-109 on Tuesday night for a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
Harden got hit in both eyes early but was able to return and finished with 29 points and seven rebounds on a night boos regularly greeted both him and Chris Paul at deafening Oracle Arena, where the Rockets complained after a 104-100 Game 1 defeat that the officials missed foul calls when the Warriors closed out on Houston’s 3-point shooters.
Paul celebrated and cheered when Harden drew a foul on Durant in the closing seconds of the third on a very such play. Harden converted three free throws to pull Houston within 82-75 going into the final 12 minutes.
Harden scored seven straight Houston points during one stretch midway through the fourth, including a 3 at 7:25 that go the Rockets within 92-89. Stephen Curry connected for a key 3 at the 6:31 mark on the way to 20 points.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points and hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the third. Draymond Green had 15 points, 12 rebounds — three on the offensive end over two possessions in the opening quarter — and seven assists.
Game 3 is Saturday in Houston.
Bucks 123, Celtics 102
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Khris Middleton made seven of Milwaukee’s 20 3-pointers, and the Bucks beat Boston on Tuesday night to even their second-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Antetokounmpo bounced back from a sub-par performance in Game 1, repeatedly attacking the rim with powerful drives to the basket. He went 7 for 16 from the floor and 13 of 18 at the foul line.
Middleton finished with 28 points for Milwaukee, which went 20 for 47 from beyond the arc. Eric Bledsoe added 21 points and five assists.
The Bucks led by as many as 31 points after a closely played opening half. Game 3 is Friday night in Boston.
Marcus Morris paced Boston with 17 points. Jaylen Brown had 16, and Al Horford finished with 15.
Kyrie Irving, who had 26 points and 11 assists in the Celtics’ 112-90 victory in the series opener, finished with nine points on 4-of-18 shooting in 31 minutes.