Harden rallies Rockets over Timberwolves
Houston, TX – James Harden scored 25 of his 37 points in the second half to help the Houston Rockets overcome a 20-point third-quarter deficit and take a 108-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
Harden was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and sank 12-of-13 from the free throw line over the final two frames. Jeremy Lin chipped in 24 points and eight assists to the win.
Minnesota was in control late in the second quarter, but was outscored 69-43 in the second half. Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea each scored 19 in the defeat, the T'Wolves 15th in their last 16 road games.
"We just didn't play well in the second half," said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. "They got control of the game and (James) Harden got to the basket on us and took control of the game."
Just after the midway point of the second period, Barea's 3-pointer and ensuing 3-point play sparked a 16-4 run that sent the Timberwolves into the locker room with a 57-39 lead. Minnesota went ahead by 20 on Greg Stiemsma's jump shot to open the third quarter.
However, Harden began to heat up, with his third triple of the quarter bringing the Rockets within 71-65 at the 4:03 mark.
"He's a tough kid because his foot is bothering him. He's a tough kid," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale. "He's very, very skilled. He got to the ball 18 times tonight and just basically willed us for awhile in that third quarter and made some big shots and then everybody else got going."
Lin then canned a 3-pointer and tallied seven of Houston's final nine points to keep them within six, 80-74, heading into the fourth.
The Rockets then took the lead at 84-82 following a dunk by Greg Smith with 8:16 left. Barea knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the T'Wolves the lead back, but it would be their last.
Houston responded with a 13-3 push, with Lin's triple with 5:30 left breaking an 86-86 tie and Smith later throwing down a pair of dunks before four Harden free throws gave the Rockets a nine-point edge with 3:08 remaining.
The Timberwolves never came closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Houston has won eight of its last nine home games ... The Timberwolves fell to 7-25 on the road this season ... Luke Ridnour and Mickael Gelabale each scored 10 points for Minnesota ... The Rockets were 25-for-31 at the free throw line ... The Rockets broke a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a single season, set during the 2006-07 season.