By Dave Holcomb
In a game of runs, Houston outscores Minnesota by 14 in the fourth quarter.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ 54th game of the season on Monday night sums up the team’s season to this point. Minnesota started strong, hung in there, but eventually the pack pulled away from the Wolves.
Minnesota came within four points at the start of the fourth quarter against Houston, but another Rockets run pushed the lead back to double digits as Houston won 107-89.
The Rockets are doing a lot of things right heading into the All-Star weekend. Houston shot 47.6 percent from the field including 40.7 percent from behind the arc. Kevin McHale‘s team punished the Timberwolves with fast break points, 26, and score 20 more points in the paint than the home team did, 52. Houston also had a slight advantage in the rebounding category, 46-43.
Even the team’s foul shooting has become a strength for Houston. The team was 18-for-20 on Monday including 4-for-5 from center Dwight Howard. The center is hitting over 70 percent from the line in his last seven games.
Howard finished the game with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Point guard Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with 20 points and six assists. Guards James Harden and Patrick Beverley each shot 50 percent from 3-pointers and scored 19 and 14 points, respectively. Forward Terence Jones also had 14.
For Minnesota, Kevin Love had an outstanding game and finished with a game-high 31 points, but it was quite clear that without Love, the Timberwolves could not put the ball in the basket. That fact probably contributed to the several runs in the game. Chase Budinger was Minnesota’s second-leading scorer with 15 points.
After trailing 82-78 to start the fourth, the Rockets outscored the Timberwolves 25-11 in the final quarter.
The victory was the sixth straight for Houston while Minnesota has dropped the last four games.