Towns, Wolves use big second half to beat Rockets 103-91


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Karl-Anthony Towns helped erase a 14-point halftime deficit to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Houston Rockets 103-91 on Monday night.

Towns led Minnesota with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins had 16 points. The Rockets led by as many as 19 in the first half before Minnesota stormed back to take the lead for good in the third quarter.

James Harden finished with 29 points, and Clint Capela added 24 for the Rockets. Houston went cold after halftime, scoring just nine points in the fourth quarter and 29 total in the second half.

Minnesota clamped down on defense in the third quarter while shooting 7 of 10 from 3-point range. Houston shot just 38.1 percent in the third quarter and connected on 2 of 11 from deep.

Harden scored 14 of Houston’s 38 points in the second quarter as the Rockets pushed their lead to 14 at the half.

Minnesota had three technical fouls in the first half. Towns received a technical after he thought he was fouled, and Robert Covington got one late in the second quarter. Jeff Teague was hit with a technical foul on a play in which he was fouled.

After Houston scored 38 points in the second quarter, Minnesota answered with a 38-point quarter of its own. The Timberwolves tied it at 76 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Teague to cap a 15-3 run. Wiggins also hit a 3-pointer and had a block at the other end during the stretch. Minnesota took its first lead since 14-11 when Dario Saric hit a 3-pointer that made it 79-77.

The Wolves grew their lead in the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Saric and a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Covington that made it 94-82.

Harden hit a shot in the fourth that ended a 42-14 Timberwolves’ run over 14 1/2 minutes. The nine points in the fourth quarter was the fewest for the Rockets in any quarter this season.

Monday marked the first time Minnesota and Houston faced off since last year’s playoffs. The Rockets beat the Timberwolves in five games, including a game that saw Houston score 50 points in a quarter at Target Center.


Rockets: Harden topped the 20-point mark for the 18th time this season. … Houston shot just 3 for 22 from 3-point range in the second half after hitting on 8 of 17 shots from deep in the first half. … Chris Paul scored a season-low five points.

Timberwolves: The 38-point third quarter was the highest-scoring quarter in a second half all season for Minnesota. … Derrick Rose was held scoreless for the first time all season. He entered Monday’s game averaging 19.3 points per game. … Saric was 3 for 4 from deep. He was 4 for 19 from 3-point range in his previous six games.


Rockets: Visit Utah on Thursday night.

Timberwolves: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

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