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.
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.
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