Giannis Antetokounmpo fires Milwaukee Bucks past Houston Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo fired a ball right into James Harden's face and Twitter loved

Harden was, of course, okay, but you can't say it didn't have an impact on the Bucks eventual victory.

Wednesday's battle of MVP favorites lived up to the billing in the Bucks' 116-109 win over the Rockets, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden putting up stat lines worthy of the game's highest award. Antetokounmpo had 27 points and a career-high 21 rebounds in the match.

Harden finished with 41 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while falling short of a dubious triple double with nine turnovers.

"I definitely think it's our belief inside this locker room, and a lot just around the league, that we have the best player in the league right here", Bucks big man Brook Lopez said of Antetokounmpo after Wednesday's road win over the Houston Rockets, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

The Bucks led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, but Harden and the Rockets had whittled that lead to three with less than two minutes remaining.

It was Harden's sixth 40-point outing in the last eight games and he has scored 30 or more points in 14 straight games, which is the longest streak since Tracy McGrady did it in 2003. Harden has a chance to obliterate the record with the Rockets' friendly upcoming schedule (they play seven of their next 10 games at Toyota Center). It opened up an opportunity for Antetokounmpo to seal the deal by going on a personal 5-0 run. Houston shot 18 of 48 on 3-pointers. "It hurt. ... I wish I would have seen it". The degree to which Houston relies on Harden will likely generate a slew of eye-popping scoring nights in the second half, and perhaps some more MVP moments like his game-winning three in Houston's 135-134 win over Golden State on January 3.

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