HOUSTON Jalen Green scored a career-high 42 points as the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-114 on Monday night to snap a 13-game losing streak.
Green, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, scored 21 points at halftime and continued his strong performance in the second half, leading the Rockets to their first win since Dec. 26 in Chicago. They ended their longest drift of the season, as well as a 10-game losing streak at home, with a home win for the first time since December 13 against Phoenix.
Greene bounced back after hitting just 3-for-13 with 10 points in a loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday night.
Coach Steven Silas saw Green perform better from the start on Monday night.
“He was ready for tonight,” Silas said. “It’s time for us to come together and have a focused game for 48 minutes and he was the leader today.”
Green said he was “a little off the mark” after Saturday’s poor performance but was determined to turn things around. He was thrilled that his big play helped Houston out of the skid.
“He feels good,” he said. “My guys relied on me, the coaches relied on me. We needed it. We desperately needed it. We went out and executed.”
Anthony Edwards scored 31 points and D’Angelo Russell tied a season high with 30 for the Timberwolves, who won two in a row.
“You are what you do all the time,” said Minnesota coach Chris Finch. “We’ve seen games like this a lot, so focus… has to be part of the problem, but we just didn’t have enough guys playing well.”
Rookie Tari Eason spoke about Houston’s mood for Monday’s game.
“I just told the team before the game, just be desperate,” Eason said. “And I think that’s what we did tonight. Everyone played desperately. Everyone was playing their tails.”
The Rockets clung to a one-point lead before Green scored the next five points on a three-pointer to make it 105–99 with two minutes left.
Edwards hit the second of two free throws before Green hit again, knocking down a long two-pointer and Houston went up 107–100 with 90 seconds left.
Kenyon Martin Jr. then stole the ball from D’Angelo Russell and finished on the other end with a dunk to extend the lead to nine with less than a minute left.
Edwards then made a 3-pointer to Minnesota, but Green hit a 3-pointer to Houston seconds later to make it 112–103 with 41 seconds left. Minnesota closed out in four with 12 seconds remaining, but Green responded with a free throw.
Green hit a three-pointer as time expired in the third quarter and Houston went up 90–81. The Timberwolves used a five-point 8-0 run from Russell to cut their lead to 92-89 with about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Houston went on a 7-0 streak, with 3 off Garrison Matthews, to take an 81-74 lead with less than four minutes left in the third quarter.
Austin Rivers made a 3 for Minnesota a second later, but the Rockets scored the next six points to make it 87–77 with about two minutes left in the quarter.
Timberwolves: Taurean Prince sat with a sprained left ankle. … Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 16 rebounds in the second leg after missing three games with right groin pain.
Rockets: Rookie Jabari Smith Jr. missed the second game in a row with a sprained right ankle. … Kevin Porter Jr. missed his sixth straight game with a bruised left foot. … Alperen Sengun had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Houston, which finished with the worst record in the NBA in each of the last two seasons, is once again the worst team in the league this season, 11-36. Silas hopes that such a game will be proof that his team is progressing despite their records.
“We are definitely working on it,” he said. “We still made mistakes … but today we recovered them, and that’s the main thing.”
Timberwolves: Visit New Orleans Wednesday night.
The Rockets will host the Washington on Wednesday night.
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