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NBA: Raptors claim their 8th straight win by defeating the Rockets

The Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 139-120 to extend their winning streak to eight games. Gary Trent Jr. and Pascal Siakam each scored 72 points for the Raptors.

Despite Siakam’s foul trouble late in the fourth quarter, Trent had a season-high 42 points, and Trent had a season-high 30. Siakam and Trent each made six 3-pointers, and each got four assists. Trent also had five thefts on the night.

There was no one in double figures until the end of the third quarter when Chris Boucher made two free throws to put him there at the 1:08 mark. Dalano Banton and OG Anunoby contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Six Rockets scored in double digits, led by Kevin Porter Jr.’s 30 points and eight assists. Christian Wood had 17 points and 11 rebounds for his 26th double-double, while Garrison Mathews had 19. Jalen Green had 18 points and made 3 of 6 three-pointers. 

Green’s dunk at the 6:01 mark of the first quarter gave Houston a 22-12 lead. During the Raptors’ 20-8 surge to the lead, Trent scored 14 points.

A Toronto full-court press stunned Houston as the Raptors went on a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 32-30 after Trent’s backcourt steal and layup. Siakam’s second-quarter blitz gave Trent 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and three three-pointers.

The Raptors had a 12-point advantage at the end of the second quarter thanks to Siakam, who made 9 of 10 shots from the field. During the first quarter, Houston shot 76.2% from the field and 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, but couldn’t keep up the pace in the second quarter. With 6:29 remaining in the first half, the Rockets fell behind 50-49 on a Siakam driving bank shot.

With the score at 63-53 after three points, he added another three-pointer, an inbounds pass, and a fadeaway. The Raptors’ lead grew to 12 points on Trent’s next three-pointer, and Siakam’s fadeaway capped the Raptors’ first-half scoring.

NBA Finals rematch: The Suns thrash the Bucks

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 131-107 in a repeat of last season’s NBA Finals, led by Deandre Ayton’s 27 points and Chris Paul’s 17 points and a season-high 19 assists.

The Suns, who had won 15 of their previous 16 games, were led by Mikal Bridges’ 18 points. Paul scored 17 points to reach his 500th career double-double.

Last year’s dramatic Finals saw Milwaukee overcome Phoenix in six games. Despite a 2-0 start by the Suns, the Bucks went on a four-game winning streak after that. Milwaukee’s four-game winning streak was snapped when the Bucks fell to their third loss in 11 games despite having 21 points apiece from Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. 

Despite becoming MVP of the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a total of 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Phoenix’s Devin Booker finished with 17 points and seven assists, although he only hit six of his 19 shots from the field. With 15 points and eight rebounds from Cameron Johnson, the Suns defeated Milwaukee for the sixth time in the previous seven meetings during the regular season.

While shooting 56.7% from the field and 9 of 30 from 3-point range, the Suns’ JaVale McGee had 12 points and Jae Crowder had 10 points and eight rebounds to lead the way.

Bucks forward Bobby Portis scored 11 points and grabbed nine boards in a 45.5% shooting performance with a 10 of 38 mark from the three-point line. After fracturing the fourth metacarpal on his right hand, Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton was forced to leave the game.

In the third quarter, the Suns outscored the Bucks 33-21 to build a 97-77 lead at halftime.

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