Harden, Houston rally past Wolves

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2012 - 11:53 PM

Houston's high-dollar guard James Harden scored 30 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love was scoreless over the final three quarters.

The Houston Rockets acquired sixth man and third wheel James Harden from Oklahoma City two months ago and quickly signed him to a five-year, $80 million contract extension, terms and figures that still stick in Kevin Love's craw because the Timberwolves wouldn't pay him the same after three years as a loyal employee.

In Wednesday's 87-84 victory over the Wolves at sold-out Target Center, Harden proved again for a surging Rockets team that he's a featured player worth that kind of investment.

On the same night Love scored all of his seven points in the game's first eight minutes, Harden scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, including the night's final four that swung the game in the final 39 seconds.

The Wolves kicked away a double-digit lead for the seventh time this season, squandering a 14-point lead midway through the third quarter that the Rockets wiped away with a 15-2 run while Harden sat on the bench. The Wolves scored only one basket in more than seven minutes.

When he returned to play nearly the entire fourth quarter, Harden dissected the Wolves defense time and again, running pick-and-roll plays with his lefthanded dribble that got him to the rim repeatedly while Love missed the only two shots -- both open three-pointers -- he took in the final quarter.

"When he's playing downhill, when he's coming at you, he's almost impossible to stop," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale, the former Wolves executive. "He mauls the b all through you, he's so strong."

Harden extended his streak of 20-point games to 10 -- eight more than his previous career best -- and the Rockets won their fifth consecutive game and seventh in the past eight games.

The Wolves, meanwhile, fell back to .500 at 13-13 in front of a crowd announced at 20,340. Love returned after a game away because of an eye injury, only to find his season-long shooting woes with that healing, formerly broken shooting hand continuing.

Love went 3-for-7 in the game's first eight minutes, scored those seven early points and then missed his final seven shots and didn't score again for the final 40 minutes.

Included was an open missed three with 2:30 left when the Wolves led 82-81 and another missed three when they led 84-83 with 47 seconds left.

From there, Harden put the Rockets ahead to stay by getting to the rim for a layup with 31.9 seconds left and then scored with 12 seconds left on another drive for the final three-point margin.

"Well, all I can say, he's our best player," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said of Love's night. "I think I'll take those two wide-open threes any time. That's a judgment you've got to make at the time, and I decided to stay with him."

Love sat at his locker afterward, dejected, answering reporters' question with short, terse replies.

"It's frustrating for the entire team, we know that," said Love, who shot 3-for-14 from the field, 0-for-7 on threes. "They're encouraging me. I'm upset with the game tonight, but it's not going to hold me down."

Love, to be sure, has had many games like Harden did Wednesday, just not many this season.

"He'll be fine," J.J Barea said. "He's our star, you know. I keep telling him, 'You've got to take those shots.' I'll live with him shooting open threes and I'll live with him posting up and shooting it every time if he wants to. He's our star player. It happens to everybody. He'll be back, and we'll get it going."

  • HOUSTON 87, WOLVES 84

    Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Phoenix • Target Center • TV: Ch. 29 (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close