HOUSTON—Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 26 points to pick up the slack for the injured James Harden, and the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-101 on Saturday night.
The Rockets led throughout, and Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin and Brooks made consecutive 3-pointers in a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and extend the lead to 91-74.
Harden, who leads the Rockets with 24.2 points per game, sat out with a sore left foot. Lin started in his place and scored 19, but it was Brooks who shined.
Brooks, who entered the game averaging 2.8 points, had a big second quarter, making four 3-pointers and scoring 16 points. He finished with six 3-pointers.
Kevin Love had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Corey Brewer scored 22 for the Timberwolves.
Brooks, who’s in his second stint with the Rockets, is a crowd favorite and the home fans cheered wildly every time he entered the game. Brooks also had five assists, four rebounds and a steal.
Patrick Beverley had 17 points and made a career-high five 3-pointers, and Terrence Jones added 18 points and had 10 rebounds for Houston. Dwight Howard had 11 points and led the team with 13 rebounds.
The Rockets led 82-74 entering the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves used a 15-4 spurt in the third quarter, fueled by three 3-pointers, to cut Houston’s lead to 65-57. Love made a 3-pointer before a turnover by Chandler Parsons which led to a dunk by Brewer capped the run. An exasperated Houston coach Kevin McHale put his hands on his head as he watched Brewer’s dunk and quickly called a timeout.
McHale’s short pep talk must have gotten Houston’s attention. The Rockets responded with a 10-5 run to extend their lead to 75-62 with about 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
The Rockets led by eight points late in the second quarter before using a 9-2 run thanks to three straight 3-pointers, including two by Brooks, to stretch the lead to 52-37.
Minnesota scored five quick points on a dunk by Kevin Martin and a 3-pointer from Brewer to close the gap. But Lin sunk a 3-pointer at the buzzer to extend Houston’s lead to 55-42 at halftime.
Houston jumped out to a 14-2 lead but Minnesota got going after that and cut the lead to 20-16 with the help of three turnovers by the Rockets.
NOTES: Also out for the Rockets on Saturday were Ronnie Brewer, who has a strained right calf, and Greg Smith, who has a sprained right knee. ... It was Howard’s ninth double-double of the season. ... Ricky Rubio had eight assists for Minnesota.