MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden gave Houston quite the jump-start with 22 of the team’s 50 points in the third quarter, as the Rockets cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-100 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Chris Paul scored 15 of his 25 points in the near-record third for the Rockets, who turned a 50-49 halftime edge into a 31-point advantage after the torrid 12-minute span. The only team in the history of the NBA playoffs with more points in one quarter was the Los Angeles Lakers, who scored 51 points in the fourth on March 31, 1962, in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Clint Capela added 14 points and 17 rebounds, Eric Gordon finally got going with 18 points off the bench and the Rockets easily recovered from their rough start.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were dominated on both ends of the floor during the decisive third and missed 14 of 21 shots over several panicked possessions.
JAZZ 113, THUNDER 96
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points to lead the Jazz to a win over the Thunder.
Joe Ingles scored 20 points while Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Rubio chipped in 13 points, eight assists and six boards. Utah takes a 3-1 series lead back to Oklahoma City. Game 5 is on Wednesday night.
Paul George scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Thunder. Oklahoma City lost its third straight in the series after shooting just 39 percent from the field.
The Thunder opened up a 26-19 lead late in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony capped a string of three straight Oklahoma City baskets with an alley-oop layup. They held onto the lead for much of the second quarter until Utah finally woke up on offense.