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              === 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
 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.
                                   Game Notes
 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

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