Takeaways: Jabari Smith Jr. sparks Rockets in upset win over Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo

HOUSTON — One night after a loss that head coach Ime Udoka called perhaps their worst of the 2023-24 season to date, the Rockets responded with one of their best efforts in Saturday’s 112-108 win (box score) over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks at Toyota Center.

It was the seventh and final game of a season-long homestand for the Rockets, who improved to 18-16 despite not having two rotation regulars in Dillon Brooks (right oblique strain) and Tari Eason (left lower leg soreness). Milwaukee, which lost despite 48 points by perennial MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, fell to 25-11.

Jabari Smith Jr. played a game-high 40 minutes for the Rockets and had 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 steals, making for one of his best efforts in weeks. Smith hit 3-of-5 from 3-point range (60.0%), including a dagger with under two minutes left to seal the win.

Alperen Sengun led the Rockets in scoring with 21 points, though he was limited by the Bucks to 7-of-21 shooting (33.3%). Sengun also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.

On a balanced night, other Houston players in double figures were:

  • Jalen Green: 16 points, 4 rebounds; 5-of-12 shooting (41.7%), 5-of-5 on free throws

  • Jeff Green: 16 points in 34 minutes; 5-of-11 shooting (45.5%), 2-of-5 on 3-pointers (40.0%), 4-of-5 on free throws

  • Fred VanVleet: 14 points, 7 assists, 2 steals; 4-of-13 shooting (30.8%), 3-of-10 on 3-pointers (30.0%)

  • Cam Whitmore: 12 points, 3 rebounds in 13 minutes; 4-of-6 shooting (66.7%), 1-of-1 on 3-pointers, 3-of-3 on free throws

  • Aaron Holiday: 11 points in 21 minutes; 4-of-7 shooting (57.1%), 3-of-5 on 3-pointers (60.0%)

Here’s our look at highlights and postgame interviews, along with reaction by media members and fans. With the homestand complete, Houston will now begin a six-game Eastern Conference road trip, which starts Monday at Miami (20-15). Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m. Central.

Jan. 6 Rockets-Bucks reaction

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire