The Minnesota Timberwolves led for much of the early stages of Tuesday’s game against the Houston Rockets but ultimately allowed the home team to storm back in the second half.
The Houston Rockets entered Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on a four-game losing streak, struggling to score efficiently and looking entirely lost at times during the skid.
That’s no longer the case, as Mike D’Antoni’s crew used a strong third quarter to vault themselves ahead of the Wolves and ultimately hang on for a win.
Minnesota actually started the game quite well, leading by nine points after the first quarter and four at halftime. But the Rockets closed the third frame on a 10-0 run and continued to click offensively early in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves once again struggled mightily to stay in front of their opponent on defense and keep them out of the paint. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Austin Rivers paraded to the rim all night, paving the way for a 51.2 percent shooting night.
On the offensive side, the Wolves were led by D’Angelo Russell’s 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-12 on 3-point attempts. He pitched in six rebounds, five assists and four steals but also committed six turnovers.
Juan Hernangomez had a great night, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He scored 10 of his points quickly in the first quarter and didn’t do as much in the second half. Along with Russell and Josh Okogie, he was one of just three Wolves players with a positive plus-minus.
Minnesota only got five points on 2-of-12 shooting from Malik Beasley in what was clearly his worst game in a Timberwolves uniform. James Johnson had a nice night with 16 points (7-14 FG, 2-4 3P), six rebounds, three assists, two steals and Jarrett Culver added 12 points off the bench.
This was only the first game of a season-long six-game road trip for the Wolves as they head throughout the south and west. While they were competitive and had a chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, the defense continues to look entirely listless.
Next up for the Wolves is a Friday night date with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC.