HOUSTON — For anyone still doubting the legitimacy of Garrison Mathews, the undrafted prodigy from Lipscomb University put all questions to rest Friday night. Mathews scored a team-high 23 points, but his scoring was not enough as the Houston Rockets sustained a 123-114 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks inside the Toyota Center.
With the loss, the Rockets’ seven-game win streak came to an end, which concluded their longest winning streak since James Harden and Russell Westbrook led Houston to seven straight wins in November of 2019.
Mathews set the tone early for the Rockets by helping the team sustain their sizzling shooting from behind the arc. He drilled five of his six triples during the first half, as Houston held a 65-58 halftime advantage over Milwaukee.
The only player who surpassed Mathews’ on-court production for the Bucks was Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning Finals MVP stuck to his oath that he would be more aggressive following the Bucks’ nine-point loss to the Miami Heat during their previous game.
Antetokounmpo scored 10 first quarter points, where the Bucks led 26-23 entering the second period. He finished with a game-high 41 points in the win.
But unlike Antetokounmpo, Mathews had a teammate in the first half to match his on-court intensity in Alperen Sengun.
The Turkish rookie had the most suitable game of his young career despite a loss against the Bucks. He scored 15 points off the bench, but his most significant contribution came on the defensive side of the ball.
Sengun drew a pair of charges that resulted in turnovers for the Bucks, and got under the skin of DeMarcus Cousins — which caused the former Rocket to record four fouls in a little over four minutes of play in the first half.
The Bucks and the Rockets alternated lead changes early in the fourth when Antetokounmpo and Eric Gordon exchanged a pair of 3-point field goals.
After a triple made by Bobby Portis to put the Bucks ahead 105-101, Milwaukee began to pull away from Houston with Antetokounmpo scoring 13 points down the stretch. Portis and Khris Middleton each added 21 points. In addition to his 41 points, Antetokounmpo recorded his 15th doube-double of the season with 17 rebounds.
In the loss, Christian Wood recorded his 14th double-double on the year against his former team with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Armoni Brooks scored a season-high 21 points.
After the loss, the Rockets will try to avoid back-to-back losses on Saturday, when Houston face-off against the 15-11 Memphis Grizzlies. Tip-off is at 7 P.M. CT inside the FedExForum.