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(Thursday, March 20th)
Final Score: Houston 129, Minnesota 106
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 129-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 20 points and Chandler Parsons added 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Houston, which has won two in a row without Dwight Howard in the lineup. Patrick Beverley scored 14 points and Jeremy Lin added 11 points and 10 assists.
"I think we moved the ball really well," said Lin. "It was moving all night and guys were hitting shots, layups, threes."
Howard had played every game this season until a left ankle strain sidelined him Monday against Utah.
Kevin Love totaled a game-high 29 points to go along with six boards and five assists for the Timberwolves, while Gorgui Dieng set career highs with 22 points and 21 rebounds
"Some of us just didn't have it and that's the way it goes sometimes," said Love. "These are the dog days of the season right here, trying to give everything you got. Sometimes that's just not good enough."
Dieng was the first Minnesota player to record a 20-point, 20-rebound game this season.
Houston trailed by 10 with 9:50 left in the second quarter before Harden knocked down consecutive treys to spark a 20-3 tear which put the Rockets ahead 51-44 halfway through the quarter.
Harden hit another trey with 1:17 left in the first half to put the Rockets up by a 64-54 score at the break. He led the way for Houston with 17 points in the quarter, while going 5-for-7 from the floor.
The Rockets began the third quarter with a 16-7 run to stretch the margin to 19 points with 8 1/2 minutes on the clock, and did not look back from there. Minnesota trailed by as many as 21 in the period and only came within 13 points over the rest of the third, trailing 98-82 heading into the final frame.
Houston led by as many as 29 points in the fourth as they cruised to the finish.
Earlier, the first quarter featured eight lead changes and two ties as Minnesota went ahead 33-27 heading into the second.
Love went 5-for-7 from the floor for 14 points during the opening period. Beverley countered with 11 points for the Rockets, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Luc Mbah a Moute and Chase Budinger scored 11 points apiece for Minnesota ... Omer Asik and Terrence Jones added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Houston ... The Rockets lead the all-time series, 62-38 ... Houston shot 57.6 percent (49-for-85) from the field, while the T'Wolves made 43.7 percent (38-for-87) of their shots from the floor.
03/21 01:13:37 ET