Rockets go deep to knock off Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson (67) attempts to score as Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green (14) and forward Danuel House Jr. (4) defend during the second quarter Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson (67) attempts to score as Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green (14) and forward Danuel House Jr. (4) defend during the second quarter Sunday, March 17, 2019, at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports



HOUSTON — Chris Paul, Clint Capela and James Harden recorded double-doubles, and the host Houston Rockets turned a blistering third-quarter shooting display into a 117-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, March 17.

Paul paired 25 points with 10 assists and matched his single-game high of six 3-pointers, while Capela recorded 20 points and 13 rebounds in grappling with Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns (22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists).

Houston improved to 11-2 since the All-Star break by catching fire from the perimeter in the third quarter, connecting on 10 of 18 treys.

Eric Gordon ignited the barrage with consecutive 3-pointers that yielded a 58-51 lead. Harden (20 points, 10 assists) sank a 3-pointer at the 9:23 mark of the third before Paul got hot, drilling four treys in succession to stretch the advantage to 75-58.

When Danuel House Jr. connected from deep with 5:38 left in the period, the Rockets led by 18.

The Rockets finished 21 for 50 from behind the arc. House scored 14 points; Gordon added 12.

Rookie forward Josh Okogie scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, who have dropped 7 of 10. Taj Gibson chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Minnesota.

A quiet individual start for Towns turned explosive down the stretch of the first quarter, starting with a baseline drive and dunk that provided the Timberwolves a 17-15 lead at the 4:19 mark.

Towns followed with a runner and a 3-pointer and went on to score 12 of the final 15 points of the period for Minnesota. The Timberwolves stretched their lead to 34-26 early in the second and, with the Rockets misfiring from deep, had ample opportunity to stretch their advantage.

Despite shooting just 39.2 percent overall and surrendering a plus-nine rebounding advantage to Minnesota by the break, the Rockets hung close.

Houston managed five 3-pointers in the period to stay within range and, when Capela completed a three-point play with 92 seconds remaining in the half, Houston pulled to within two.

After Iman Shumpert drilled a trey with 25.7 seconds left, the Rockets somewhat surprisingly carried a 50-49 lead into the intermission.