One night after they escaped Target Center with a late victory they didn't deserve, the Timberwolves welcomed guard Malik Beasley back from a 12-game NBA suspension with a resounding 129-107 loss to Houston.
On Friday, the Rockets led by 19 points and still lost after they allowed the Wolves a 22-0 run that ended a game in which Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns delivered 29 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists.
His performance included 14 points in the fourth quarter alone in an 107-101 comeback victory over an opponent that until Saturday had won just one game since Feb. 4.
In the rematch 24 hours later, the Rockets led by 29 points before halftime and by 34 in the third quarter after they trailed early on in the last of back-to-back games between the teams.
This time, there would be no comeback, not after Houston used its three-point shooting and runs of 8-0 and 13-2 in the second quarter to build such a big lead that even the Rockets couldn't give it away.
By then, a Houston team that recently lost 20 consecutive games and had lost 22 of its past 23 already had made 10 three-pointers and led 71-42 late in the first half.
Afterward, Towns was asked if Saturday's loss was something of a wake-up call.
"The wake-up call should have been last night when we had this kind of game and we found a way to come back and win," Towns said. "You can't expect something to happen like that two nights in row. We got lucky. We had an inexpensive expensive lesson last night. … If you don't come out ready in the NBA, they're going to do what they did to us tonight. We should have learned our lesson last night."
This from the Rockets, who entered the game 29th in the NBA in field-goal percentage and dead-last in three-point percentage.
"Last night wasn't a great performance from us either until the end, until we got desperate," Wolves coach Chris Finch said. "The problem is we didn't start the game very desperate tonight."
Kevin Porter Jr. led Houston with 25 points while Towns had 27 points and 15 rebounds.
The Wolves drew within 18 points in the third quarter, but the Rockets quickly pushed their lead back to 32.
Beasley returned to action — and to the starting lineup — for the first time since a Feb. 24 game at Chicago and scored 13 points and made three threes on 4-for-17 shooting in nearly 30 minutes played.
"The energy, the intention was there," Finch said afterward. "It's just fairly typical. I'm glad he made some late so hopefully he knocked a little bit of the rust off."
Beasley was suspended by the NBA after that game for 12 games without pay because he had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of threatening to commit a crime of violence in September.
Until the suspension, he was the team's second-leading scorer who averaged 20.5 points a game and 33 minutes played until Finch expanded other players' roles when Beasley was available only to practice with his teammates.
He also led the Wolves in three-point shooting percentage and three-pointers made until the suspension came down.
Edwards, Jaden McDaniels and Jaylen Nowell all saw their playing time increase in the past month before Saturday, when Beasley moved back to the starting five. Porward Jarred Vanderbilt moved to a reserve's role and didn't play Saturday until late in the third quarter.
It took Beasley two minutes into Saturday's game to shoot his first three-pointer, which missed. By the time he made his first three, the Wolves trailed 89-60 midway through the third quarter.