NBA

Rockets Use Massive Third Quarter To Down Timberwolves, 117-102

Rockets Use Massive Third Quarter To Down Timberwolves, 117-102

Source: Michael Tipton/Flickr

At the end of the first half Sunday night, the Rockets appeared to be in the midst of a tough one with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-wolves had gotten out to a four-point lead after the first. But Houston was able to battle back in the second and close the gap.

Heading into halftime, the Rockets were up by one, 50-49.

For most teams, this would be no big deal. However, for the Rockets, a team that tends to start really slow in the third quarter, it was a red flag. It seems that the team was conscious of this issue Sunday night and made a point not to come out flat in the second half.

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed after the game that the team made a point to be more focused in the second (ESPN):

“They talked about it among themselves — that we’ve been coming out kind of soft and we didn’t this time. We came out more focused, especially on the offensive end.”

To say they were more focused on the offensive end would be an understatement. The game remained close for the first couple minutes of the third before the Rockets exploded or a 17-2 to make the score, 75-58, with 6:48 to play.

Houston ended up outscoring Minnesota 43-29 in the quarter and took a 15-point lead into the fourth, 93-78.

A 12-2 early in the fourth put the T-Wolves down by 22 points, 106-84, with 6:39 to play. Minnesota made a late push to narrow the gap but never really threatened to take control of the game. Danuel House Jr. closed out the scoring with a layup in the final seconds to make the score 117-102, Rockets.

Chris Paul led the way for the Rockets with 25 points, ten assists, and seven rebounds followed by Clint Capella with 20 points and 13 rebounds. James Harden was cleared to play after suffering a neck injury against Phoenix and had a productive night—just not a night that was on par with his usual standards (20 points, ten assists).

Karl-Antony Towns led the way for the Timberwolves with 22 points and ten rebounds.

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The Rockets will have Monday night off before travelling to Atlanta to face the Hawks Tuesday night. Minnesota will also have Monday night off but will host a much tougher opponent Tuesday night—the Golden State Warriors.

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