Harden scores 34 as Rockets beat Wolves 126-108
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler, left, defends against Houston Rockets guard James Harden during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
By Tyler Mason, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden had 34 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 126-108 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) for their ninth straight victory.
Ryan Anderson scored 21 points off the bench as the Rockets (43-13) snapped Minnesota's 13-game home winning streak and pulled within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the NBA. Houston has won for the 16 of its last 18 games.
The Rockets made 10 three-pointers in the fourth quarter, when they scored 42 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and 12 rebounds in Minnesota's first home loss since Dec. 16 (Dec. 17, PHL time) against Phoenix. Jeff Teague added 25 points and eight assists, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 11 points after starting 0-for-6 from the floor.
Minnesota led by as many as 13 in the first quarter before Houston went on a run to take a four-point halftime lead. Trailing by 11, the Rockets used a 15-3 run to take their first lead at 35-34.
Houston used three-pointers to keep Minnesota at bay throughout the game and then to pull away late. Anderson scored 12 in the fourth quarter, all from three-point range.
He hit a pair of three-pointers early in the period to push Houston's lead back to double digits and hit two more later in the quarter. The Rockets as a team connected on 10-of-16 three-pointers in the fourth quarter alone.
Minnesota was just 6-of-23 from deep. Harden and Anderson each hit as many shots from behind the arc as the Wolves did as a team.
Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins missed his first 12 field goal attempts. Wiggins entered Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) game shooting 55.6 percent in his previous four games. He finished 2-for-14.
Rockets: Brandan Wright did not play, one day after signing with Houston as a free agent. He played in 27 games for Memphis this season. ... The Rockets have won 16 of their last 18 meetings against Minnesota.
Timberwolves: Towns tallied his league-leading 50th double-double. ... Minnesota is now 16-2 at home this season against Western Conference opponents.
Rockets: Visit Sacramento on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).
Timberwolves: Host Lost Angeles Lakers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).