Just when it looked like Houston's four-game win streak was in trouble, James Harden showed up to save the day.
Behind 17 fourth-quarter points from Harden, including the go-ahead basket with 39 seconds left, the Rockets overcame a poor shooting night to beat Minnesota, 87-84, on Wednesday night. The win was Houston's fifth straight, and the Rockets have taken seven of their last eight games.
Houston needed every bit of help it could get in this game, and Harden delivered. With the Rockets down six with 7:30 left, Harden scored Houston's next nine points and put his team ahead, 79-78, with just over four minutes to go. From there, the Wolves and Rockets traded baskets, until the two-minute mark, when Harden once again took over. He drove for a layup to put Houston up one, and then, after an Andrei Kirilenko basket, banked home another layup to give Houston the lead for good at 85-84. A steal by Jeremy Lin off of J.J. Barea led to one more layup from Harden to make it 87-84. Minnesota had the last shot attempt, but Alexey Shved's three-point attempt with one second left was no good.
All of Harden's points in the second half came in the fourth quarter, as he finished with 30 points and six rebounds. Lin added eight points, but turned the ball over seven times. Omer Asik had another huge night on the glass, collecting 17 rebounds to go along with nine points.
Houston shot just 41 percent on the night, but was helped by Minnesota's own offensive struggles. Only two Timberwolves finished the game in double digits—Barea and Shved—as the team shot 38 percent overall. Kevin Love hit only 3-of-14 attempts and missed all seven of his three-point tries.
The Rockets will take a day off before a big Southwest Division matchup with San Antonio on Friday. Tipoff will be at 8:30 pm ET.