HOUSTON (AP) — Since signing with Houston this summer, Dwight Howard has been telling everyone that Terrence Jones had a chance to be a very good player.
Lately, Jones has been making his new teammate look pretty smart.
Jones had a career-high 36 points and 11 rebounds, and the Rockets led from the start in a 114-104 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
"He's been doing an excellent job," Howard said. "He's still growing as a player and he's learning the game at a very fast pace, which is great."
Jones had 25 points by halftime, matching his previous career-best set on Wednesday, and James Harden added 22 points. The second-year player has averaged 22.25 points in Houston's four games this week.
"I was just trying to offensive rebound and do all the little things I've been doing," said Jones, who had six offensive boards. "It was just coming to me tonight."
Houston led by 17 points before the Bucks got within six points in the third quarter. The Rockets responded with a big run to extend the lead and hold on for the victory.
Brandon Knight scored 26 points with seven assists for the NBA-worst Bucks, who have dropped eight in a row.
Jones received a standing ovation when he grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer by O.J. Mayo and dribbled by him with a slick spin move before driving into the lane and finishing with an off-balance layup to push the lead to 112-97 with about 2½ minutes remaining.
"From a physical standpoint he outmuscled us," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said of Jones. "We knew we had to slow down Dwight and slow down James Harden and defend those guys at the 3-point line, but you don't factor in a guy like that having that type of game."
Howard added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, Aaron Brooks had 10 points and four assists and Jones also had two blocks, a steal and an assist.
John Henson had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Milwaukee and Luke Ridnour added 14 points.
Houston led by 13 points with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter when Milwaukee went on a 9-2 run thanks to two 3-pointers by Knight and one by Ersan Ilyasova to cut the lead to 75-69.