Jones leads Rockets over Bucks, 114-104

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm •  Published: January 18, 2014

The Rockets were up by seven soon after that when they scored nine straight points to push the lead to 89-73. Harden got that spurt going with a layup before Howard made two free throws before sinking a rare 3. The 6-foot-11 Howard, who often jokes that he should be allowed to shoot more 3s, smiled broadly and pointed at his teammates as he trotted down the court after hitting the long shot.

It was his second 3 this season and the fourth of his nine-year career.

The Bucks had three turnovers during that Houston run before ending their offensive drought by scoring the next five points. But Brooks swiped the ball from Knight after that, passed it to Harden, who finished with a two-handed slam to leave Houston up 91-78 entering the final period.

The Rockets bounced back from a tough loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday night in which they set an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves by scoring 73 points in the first half and a franchise-low 19 after halftime.

They'd matched the 19 points they scored then with 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter en route to a 62-52 halftime lead.

Jones had five dunks in the first half and scored four points in the last 33 seconds of the half, capped by a nifty put back with 1.3 seconds left. He was particularly good in the second quarter when he was a perfect 7 for 7 from the field and made seven of his eight free throws for 21 points.

"He's got enough skill that he can put the ball on the floor, he can make shots, he can drive, he can finish, he can pass," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "He's a very versatile player and tonight he had it going."

Jones played just 19 games as a rookie last season after being selected out of Kentucky with the 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He has appeared in 39 games this season with 34 starts. The 22-year-old Jones is the second-youngest Rocket to have a 30-point game behind Hakeem Olajuwon.

NOTES: Milwaukee's Gary Neal missed the game with a stomach illness. ... Ridnour got a technical midway through the second quarter and Larry Sanders got one in the third.