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
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first