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Josh Smith fell one rebound short of his triple double, but had a fine game back in starting lineup with 16p, 11a, 9r.
Houston wins, 120-110, and clinch a playoff berth.
FINAL: Rockets 120, TWolves 110. Playoffs clinched!! Rockets hit 20 threes, Harden goes for 33, Dwight 8-9 FG for 18p, Josh Smith 16-11-9.
Rockets clinch a playoff spot with a 120-110 win over Minnesota.
Rockets 120, Wolves 110. Harden with 33, Howard with 18. Wiggins with 31 for Wolves. Rockets hit 20 3-pointers.
As it stands now, the Rockets have six players in double-figures and are shooting 53.1 percent from the floor.
With Wiggins, LaVine, Johnson and McDaniels on the court together, how about we cancel the last 77 secs for a dunk contest?
Josh Smith is one... rebound... away from that triple-double. 16 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds.
James Harden also done. He's got 33 on 19 shots.
Howard played 21 minutes and is done for the evening. He finished with 18 points. Looked good moving around and banging with defenders.
KJ McDaniels and Nick Johnson in for Dwight Howard and James Harden.
20 made three-pointers now for the Rockets. This is the point when Mark Jackson tells Flip Saunders to start fouling.
Howard spins off in the low post and takes one more alley oop to a slam. That gives him 18 points, on eight dunks and 2 fts, in 20 mins.
If you are judging Dwight Howard’s health by his dunks, he looks terrific tonight.
And Harden throws the alley-oop to Dwight Howard and the dagger has been firmly planted. 115-101 Rockets, 2:49 left.
With Rockets up 12 with 3:20 left, Howard checks back in. He has a minute or two left on his minutes restriction.
Dwight Howard back in the game for Josh Smith with 3:20 to play.
Triple-double watch: Josh Smith now has 16 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds.
Josh Smith with assist No. 10 on Terry's 3, the Rockets season-high 19th 3 of night. Smith two rebounds from triple double.
Make that 19 3s - Jason Terry just knocked down his 4th of the night.
Rockets have a season-high 18 made 3-pointers tonight. They lead Minnesota 105-96 with 4:37 to play.
Rockets 17 of 40 (!) on 3s. Ties season high for made 3s in a game.
That's 17 three-pointers made for the Rockets tonight, matching their season-high.
Josh Smith has 15 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists tonight with 6:24 to play. Has three career triple-doubles.
Josh Smith closing in on a triple double. He's one assist and two rebounds away. He has three in his career.
Howard with a vicious two-handed slam followed by one even more violent. He has 16p in 18 minutes.
Dwight Howard is happening. Back-to-back slams by the big man put the Rockets up 96-84, 9:07 left.
Back to back dunks from Howard. He's got 16 and the place is rocking.
Dwight Howard misses a shot for the first time in 2 months -- tip that rolled out. Wolves doubling him in post so he's passing it back out.
Rockets up, 90-80, after 3. Harden 31, Smith (6-7 FG) 15 & Rockets shooting 53.3 percent from the floor. Wiggins has 22 for Wolves.
Rockets, 15 of 32 on 3-pointers, have set NBA record for 3s attempted in a season with 10 1/4 games left.
90-80 Rockets heading to the 4th. Harden scored 16 of his 31 in 3Q. Rockets have made 15 threes already, still a quarter left to be played.
Harden with 31 through three quarters, has had a league-high 31 30-point games.
At this point, it's more unusual when Harden doesn't have a 30-point night. He's got 31, Rockets up 90-78.
Harden ties his season-high in steals with 5. His career high is 7.
Harden with a season-high five steals, two shy of career high.
James Harden just picked his 5th steal of the night, matching his season-high. He's two away from his career-high.
As shorthanded as Wolves are, the Minnesota bench owning Rockets reserves. Rockets bench 5 of 15; Wolves' 6 of 6.
Back in starting lineup with Jones, Motiejunas out, Josh Smith's been sensational. He's 6 of 7 for 15p with 5r, 6a, many other fine passes.
Josh Smith makes his third 3 of the evening. He's got 15.
Joey Dorsey missed two chances at easy dunks. Wants a foul. Not happening.
Howard sitting after almost 6 minutes in the third- he is up to 12 points, 2 rebounds.
Dwight Howard takes a seat with 12 points in 14 mins on 5 of 5 shooting, first time in double figures in more than two months.
James Harden is 5-5 from the field, 4-4 from three-point range for 14 points in the first 4+ minutes of the third quarter alone.
Howard nearly had his first non-dunk FG since his return. Dieng tied him up, but nearly rolled in. Instead, gets first FT.
Rockets scoring just spectacularly easily when not turning the ball over. Have hit 58.7 %, 50 % on their 24 3s. Lead by 16.
Another dunk by Howard, a mini two-handed jam. He's got 10 and the Wolves need a timeout. As we do the Macarena at Toyota Center.
James Harden has hit his first three buckets to start the second half. He's got 26.
The Minnesota's version of the Elite Eight shot 50 percent in the first half. Wiggins with 18 points and Budinger added 12 off the bench.
Harden got hit in the right ear at the end of the half and walked off.
At the break, Houston leads 60-50. Harden with 15, Josh Smith 12, Jason Terry with nine. Howard with eight points all on dunks.
Harden looks like he got hit in the face/head. He looks okay but was slow to get up and head to locker room.
Rockets up 60-50 at half. Harden got hit in the back of the head going for a rebound at the horn, but looks OK now. He's got 15, JSmith 12.
Harden took a shot to the back of the head at the halftime buzzer. Getting some attention, but looks like he'll be OK.
Nick Johnson vs. Wolves. All he does is makes driving layups. (He finished drive 16 secs into game nearly identical to game-winner in Minn.)
16 seconds is how long it took for Nick Johnson to enter the game, get the ball, drive and score.
Good to see Nick Johnson get some early time here against the Wolves.
With Corey Brewer picking up his third foul, we have a Nick Johnson sighting. It is still the first half. I checked.
Nick Johnson seeing some real time here, checking in with 3:12 left 2Q.
We have a second quarter Nick Johnson sighting at the Toyota Center.
Jason Terry is 3-3 from the field, Dwight Howard is 4-4 and Josh Smith is 5-5. That's not too bad.
Back in small lineup with Josh Smith, Dwight Howard out, Harden back to matching up with power forwards. Has had to do that a lot this year.
Josh Smith was protesting what looked like a pretty bad call when Kevin Martin said something that cracked him up. Brewer, too.
Josh Smith has 10 points, 4 assists in 12 minutes, going 4-4 FG and 2-2 3P. He's killing TWovles right now w/ dishes to Dwight. 40-26 HOU.
Dwight with four dunks and a goaltending in 7 minutes. Mid-season form already?
Flip Saunders playing Chase Budinger, Justin Hamilton, Sean Kilpatrick early. In other words, he cleared the bench in 2nd quarter.
Josh Smith fires an alleyoop pass to Dwight Howard that was so off it banked right in... and it's a three-pointer.
Josh Smith just banked in a shot that was meant to be an alley-oop for Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard starting second quarter. Had a pair of dunks in his first four-minute stint. Could get a good six-minute run this time.
Rockets with 13 rebounds, TWolves with just six after first quarter.
After 1 quarter, Rockets lead, 31-22. Harden with 10 and the Rockets are 5-11 from 3. Howard with four points and one rebound in 4 min.
Harden puts up 10 points, 3 assists and Jason Terry knocks down a couple triples and the Rockets lead 31-22 after one.
With Rockets running out of big men, Brewer and Ariza in front court together. Makes it tougher to play one vs. points with Beverley out.
We have two dunks from Howard thanks on feeds from Harden. It's 13-2, Rockets. TWolves dress eight, will play seven.
Thought it'd be interesting to see how Rockets offense clicks in Howard's stints. Tough to tell way scoring so easily, up 11-2 in 2 1/2 mins
This game is not going to go well for the Timberwolves. 11-2 Rockets out of the gate.
Before tip off the entire starting five of the Timber Wolves, hugged Rockets great and HOF Hakeem Olajuwon.
With Capela callup, Rockets have 11 players available, despite huge absences; Wolves only 8. If they have a tug-of-war, Rockets will roll.
Dwight Howard was the first player introduced this evening for the home team.
Second Rockets-Timberwolves game this season with introductions in Spanish. FIrst was in Mexico City. Tonight for Noche Latina.
Excuse me, we missed one. TWolves have eight total players. Andrew Wiggins is the star of the show.
With all of the Timberwolves' injuries, they go with small lineups off the bench. Rockets happily under the circumstances will, too.
Looks like Minnesota will play with seven tonight.
Rockets not in situation would be permitted 16th roster spot, but if they were, Josh Powell would be ready after weeks training with Dwight.
Rockets say Donatas Motiejunas has been "removed from basketball activities" for 1-2 weeks after his back was evaluated today by doctors.
With Motiejunas, Jones, Papanikolaou out, Rockets down to Howard (for 20 minutes), Josh Smith, Joey Dorsey, Capela at center, power forward.
Rockets-Wolves lineups: HOU: Ariza, Smith, Howard, Harden and Terry. MINN: Wiggins, Payne, Dieng, Lavine and Brown.
Rockets announced Donatas Motiejunas experiencing low back pain & tightness and will be out one to two weeks.