The Associated Press
HOUSTON—The Houston Rockets finally are on a roll, playing the way they expected to—but didn’t—to start the season.
James Harden had 27 points and 11 assists as the Rockets got their season-high fifth-straight win—a 107-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves last night.
“We’re playing for each other. That’s the most important thing,” said Harden.
“So if a guy messes up, guys got his back.
“Everything isn’t going to be perfect all the time and that’s what we’re starting to realize, and we’re just helping each other out,” he added.
Minnesota lost its season-worst eighth in a row.
The Timberwolves stuck around the entire second half. They only trailed by three when Jason Terry made a three-pointer with about two minutes left to extend Houston’s lead to 105-99.
Harden followed with a jump shot before Minnesota got a lay-up from Kevin Martin, and a pair of free throws from Karl-Anthony Towns, to get within 107-104.
Minnesota had a chance to tie it just before the buzzer but Martin’s three-point attempt didn’t even touch the rim.
Harden believes the Rockets would have lost a game like this early in the season when they got off to such a terrible start that it cost coach Kevin McHale his job.
“I think we would have let this game slip away,” he admitted.
“But no matter how bad we struggled, especially in the first three quarters, we locked in and we got stops when we needed to and we just scored,” he noted.
Andrew Wiggins had 28 points while Towns had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
“We had too many turnovers,” Minnesota coach Sam Mitchell said of his team’s 20.
“Every time we turned the ball over, they got a lay-up or a dunk.
“Where those turnovers come from, I don’t know,” he added.
“There were things that we just don’t normally do.”
Dwight Howard added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets while Terrence Jones came off the bench to score 16 with nine rebounds.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Washington beat Milwaukee 106-101, Charlotte dumped Atlanta 107-84, Brooklyn downed New York 110-104, Oklahoma City bounced Dallas 108-89, and Boston upended Indiana 103-94,
Denver edged Golden State 112-110, New Orleans beat Sacramento 109-97, Portland downed Utah 99-85, and the L.A. Clippers thumped Miami 104-90.