Harden, Lin rally Rockets past Wolves
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 37 points, Jeremy Lin had 24 and the Houston Rockets rallied from 20 points down in the third quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-100 on Friday night.
Harden also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out eight assists for the Rockets, who stayed two games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference.
Derrick Williams and Jose Barea scored 19 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who led 59-39 early in the third quarter. The Rockets held Minnesota to only 16 field goals the rest of the way.
Houston started the game by making some history. The Rockets’ first 3-pointer, hit by Chandler Parsons, was No. 705 on the season, tying the franchise record set by the 2006-07 team. Lin broke the mark two minutes later.
But the Timberwolves looked more like the sharpshooters on the floor at the start, shooting 59 percent (13 of 22) in the first quarter. Minnesota’s frontline players went 7 for 9 from the field in the quarter and Alexey Shved sank a pull-up 3 off Houston’s eighth turnover in the second for a 38-31 Minnesota lead.
Harden, a game-time decision with a sore right foot, missed two of his first six shots and the Rockets missed 19 of their first 31 overall. Barea sank a 3-pointer, then blew past Harden for a layup.
The league’s highest-scoring team coming into the game, Houston mustered only 39 first-half points and trailed by 18. The Rockets had only 15 first-half field goals on eight assists. Minnesota, meanwhile, shot 55 percent from the field (22 of 40) in the half and scored 20 points off Houston’s 15 first-half turnovers.
The Rockets trailed 61-46 early in the third quarter when Houston coach Kevin McHale was whistled for a technical foul. Harden and Lin sank 3-pointers on Houston’s next two possessions, and the Rockets started crawling back into it. Harden got back to attacking the basket and scored 15 points in the quarter.
Parsons started the fourth quarter with a steal and a breakaway dunk, and Harden drove for another layup to draw Houston within two. The Rockets also turned up their defense, holding Minnesota to only 10 field goals through the first 14 minutes of the second half.
Lin tied it at 82-all with a layup following a Minnesota turnover, and Carlos Delfino found Greg Smith cutting down the lane for a dunk to put the Rockets ahead. Smith got free inside for a dunk and a layup, and Parsons put it away with a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:03 remaining.
The Rockets snapped a three-game losing streak to the Timberwolves at the Toyota Center and sent Minnesota to its 10th loss in 12 games.