Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 26 points to pick up the slack for the injured James Harden as the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-101 on Saturday night.
The Rockets led throughout before Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin and Brooks made consecutive three-pointers in a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and extend the lead to 91-74.
Harden, who leads the Rockets with 24.2 points per game, sat out with a sore left foot. Lin started in his place and scored 19 points, but it was Brooks who shined.
Brooks, who entered the game averaging 2.8 points, had a big second quarter, making four three-pointers and scoring 16 points. He finished with six three-pointers.
Kevin Love had 27 points and 15 rebounds, while Corey Brewer scored 22 for the Timberwolves.
Brooks, who is in his second stint with the Rockets, is a crowd favorite and the home fans cheered wildly every time he entered the game. Brooks also had five assists, four rebounds and a steal.
Patrick Beverley had 17 points and made a career-high five three-pointers, while Terrence Jones added 18 points and had 10 rebounds for Houston.
Dwight Howard had 11 points and led the team with 13 rebounds.
The Rockets led 82-74 entering the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves used a 15-4 spurt in the third quarter, fueled by three three-pointers, to cut Houston’s lead to 65-57. Love made a three-pointer before a turnover by Chandler Parsons which led to a dunk by Brewer capped the run.
An exasperated Houston coach Kevin McHale put his hands on his head as he watched Brewer’s dunk and quickly called a timeout.
McHale’s short pep talk must have gotten Houston’s attention. The Rockets responded with a 10-5 run to extend their lead to 75-62 with about three-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter.
The Rockets led by eight points late in the second quarter, before using a 9-2 run thanks to three straight three-pointers, including two by Brooks, to stretch the lead to 52-37.
Minnesota scored five quick points on a dunk by Kevin Martin and a three-pointer by Brewer to close the gap, but Lin sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to extend Houston’s lead to 55-42 at halftime.
Houston jumped out to a 14-2 lead, but Minnesota got going after that and cut the lead to 20-16 with the help of three turnovers by the Rockets.
Saturday’s other results:
‧ Heat 101, Magic 99
‧ Kings 103, Clippers 102
‧ Trail Blazers 113, Warriors 101
‧ Spurs 126, Cavaliers 96
‧ Nuggets 102, Mavericks 100
‧ Celtics 94, Hawks 87
‧ Pacers 106, 76ers 98
‧ Wizards 98, Knicks 89
‧ Bobcats 96, Bucks 72