Harden shines late as Rockets edge T-Wolves
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - James Harden connected twice on drives to the basket in the waning moments to lift the Houston Rockets to an 87-84 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Harden scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets overcame a 14-point deficit to notch their fifth straight win.
Chandler Parsons had 12 points and Carlos Delfino added 11 for Houston.
J.J. Barea supplied 18 points to pace the Timberwolves, who had their home winning streak snapped at five games. They have dropped four of five overall.
Kevin Love struggled in his return to Minnesota's lineup after missing the previous game with an eye injury. He shot 3-of-14 for seven points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
"It was a tough loss for us," Barea said. "We had open shots, they just didn't go down for us tonight."
The Rockets retook the lead at 85-84 when Harden got a running layup to fall with 39.1 seconds remaining. On the next Minnesota possession, Barea turned the ball over, and Harden attacked the basket again with a finger roll with 11.7 seconds to go.
Minnesota still had one last opportunity, but Alexey Shved missed a 3-pointer prior to the buzzer.
Both teams had difficulty shooting the ball. Houston shot 40.7 percent, compared to the Timberwolves' 38.1 percent.
"We struggled to find a rhythm all night long," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
The Timberwolves clung to a 47-44 halftime lead, but a Luke Ridnour layup put them up 60-46 with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Houston, playing the back end of a back-to-back, closed to within one before a Barea bucket made it 64-61 heading into the fourth quarter.
Barea delivered again, draining a step back 3-pointer to push Minnesota's lead to 73-66.
The Rockets answered with a 13-5 run to go ahead 79-78 on a Harden layup with 4:27 left.
It remained a seesaw battle as Shved dished inside to Andrei Kirilenko for a layup that put Minnesota in front 84-83 with 1:54 to play.
The Timberwolves had chances to expand their lead, but Shved and Love each missed 3-pointers.
Houston's Jeremy Lin had eight points and only one assist compared to seven turnovers ... The Rockets won for the first time in seven road games against Western Conference teams this season ... Omer Asik registered 17 rebounds for Houston ... Shved was the only other Minnesota player to reach double digits in points, finishing with 16.
12/27 00:13:21 ET