HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double this season, leading the Houston Rockets to a 113-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
Harden got off to a slow start, missing his first seven shots. He got going late in the first quarter, had 13 points at halftime and was a rebound away from wrapping up his fourth career triple-double entering the fourth.
Houston led by nine at the start of the final period, but Andrew Wiggins led a charge that cut the lead to one point with less than 4 minutes left.
The Rockets took over after that, using a 14-2 run, with five points from Harden, to make it 111-98 with less than a minute to go.
Wiggins scored 30 for the Timberwolves, who lost for the third time in four games.
It was the 25th 30-point game this season for Harden, the league’s leading scorer. He also helped out on defense, finishing with four blocks to tie a career high.
Houston scored six straight points to extend its lead to 92-78 early in the fourth quarter. Then Wiggins got going, scoring seven points in a 10-0 run that cut the lead to 92-88.
A 3-pointer by Jason Terry about a minute later pushed Houston’s lead to eight, before a three-point play by Wiggins started a 7-0 run for Minnesota that made it to 97-96 with about 3 1/2 to play.
Adreian Payne, who made his first NBA start Monday, made a 3 for Minnesota before Wiggins got a steal and finished with a layup for the first five points of a 7-1 run by the Wolves in the third quarter that cut the lead to 76-72.
But the Rockets closed out the period with an 8-3 spurt to extend the lead to 84-75. Harden capped that run when he juked Ricky Rubio, causing him to fall to the court, and finished with a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left in the period.
Harden’s first basket came with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. He was fouled on the shot and made the free throw to put Houston up 45-44.
The Rockets were up by five soon after that when Minnesota used a 10-2 run to take a 56-53 lead. But Harden hit a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining in the half to leave it tied at 56-all at halftime.
Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett, who was traded from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday for Thaddeus Young, will be in uniform for the Timberwolves at home on Wednesday night. Garnett spent his first 12 seasons in Minnesota. … F Shabazz Muhammad had season-ending surgery on the middle finger on his left hand on Monday. He was injured when his finger got caught in a teammate’s jersey in Wednesday’s practice.
Rockets: Starting point guard Pat Beverley (flu-like symptoms) and F Kostas Papanikolaou (sprained right ankle) both missed the game. … Josh Smith had 17 points for Houston.
Timberwolves: Host Washington on Wednesday.
Rockets: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
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