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James Harden Erupts for 44 Factors as Rockets Beat Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

Invoice Baptist/Getty PhotosJames Harden apparently is not slowing down within the playoffs after an unimaginable common season. The Houston Rockets ...


HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 15: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game One of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 15, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Invoice Baptist/Getty Photos

James Harden apparently is not slowing down within the playoffs after an unimaginable common season. 

The Houston Rockets star scored 44, together with 13 within the fourth quarter, to assist the No. 1 seed within the West survive with a 104-101 Recreation 1 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Andrew Wiggins scored 18 for the Timberwolves of their first playoff recreation in 14 years, but it surely wasn’t sufficient to maintain up with Harden and the Rockets offense.

The Timberwolves refused to go away down the stretch, slicing a seven-point deficit with 90 seconds left down to 3 with the ball. Nevertheless, Jimmy Butler air-balled a deep two (he meant to take a 3 however had his foot on the road), and Houston held on. 

Whereas both sides had key moments, it was Harden who stole the present whereas pulling down pictures from all around the flooring:

He additionally added eight assists and two steals. A private 7-Zero run additionally helped flip a one-point lead within the fourth quarter to an eight-point benefit that ended up deciding the sport.

Maybe most significantly, he was capable of knock down pictures in a recreation the place his teammates could not make something from the surface.

Harden completed 7-of-12 from behind the arc whereas the remainder of the Rockets had been Three-of-25 mixed.

They as an alternative needed to rely on manufacturing inside, and Clint Capela was there to assist from the opening tip. The middle had 20 factors and 10 rebounds within the first half, serving to the favorites get off to a fast begin:

In the meantime, Cities did not discover a lot room to roam with simply three factors by halftime.

The one-sided play within the put up did not imply a lot, nevertheless, because the Wolves remained in hanging distance at 54-47 at intermission. A 9-Zero run after halftime put the Timberwolves in entrance, and Derrick Rose made a big effect off the bench (together with hitting a go-ahead three with three minutes to go within the third quarter) earlier than ending with 16 factors.

Nonetheless, Harden did loads of injury on his personal to assist the house workforce regain the lead going into the fourth quarter:

Minnesota’s protection prevented the Rockets from pulling away, but it surely could not make the most of errors within the last minutes and didn’t get sufficient out of its key gamers.

Jeff Teague virtually earned a triple-double with 15 factors, 9 rebounds and eight assists, however Jimmy Butler (13 factors) and Cities (eight factors) hardly confirmed up within the loss. The defeat additionally represents the 11th straight loss for Minnesota in Houston.

The groups will get a little bit of a break earlier than returning for Recreation 2 on Wednesday on the Toyota Heart. One other loss for the Timberwolves would put them in deep trouble.

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