HOUSTON (AP) _ Walt Williams scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half and the Houston Rockets survived a third-quarter challenge to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 115-87 Thursday night.

Shandon Anderson added 25 points for Houston, while Glenn Robinson led Milwaukee with 24 points, Sam Cassell had 22 and Ray Allen 19.

With Williams leading the way, the Rockets took a 70-49 halftime lead. But Milwaukee outscored the Rockets 20-8 to cut Houston's lead to 85-74 at the end of the third period.

Jason Caffey's basket with 9:32 left pulled Milwaukee to 87-79 before Houston regained the initiative, outscoring the Bucks 9-2 _ Matt Bullard scoring 5 of his 14 points in the run _ and coasting to the victory.

A 6-0 spurt gave Houston a 17-7 lead, which the Rockets built to 31-16 before the Bucks went on an 8-0 tear. Three-pointers by Williams and Bullard boosted Houston to 37-26 going into the second period.

A pair of baskets by Williams gave the Rockets a 46-28 lead with 8:30 left in the period. After four more Williams points, Houston led 58-34 with 5:16 remaining.

Notes: Williams finished the game with 7,009 career points. ... The Houston Rockets' average age is 26.8 years. ... Houston center Kevin Cato suffered a left ankle sprain in the second quarter and forward Maurice Taylor suffered a left ankle sprain in the third period. ... Milwaukee's loss to Dallas in its season opener Tuesday night snapped a nine-game opening-day winning streak, the third longest in NBA history. All nine wins were on the road, an NBA record for road openers. ... Bucks rookie Joel Przybilla and Houston rookie Jason Collier were traded for one another on draft night.