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Timberwolves get past Rockets with strong fourth quarter

Jan 8, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (5) passes the ball around Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gobert produced a double-double while D’Angelo Russell scored a team-high 22 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves extended their winning streak to four games with a 104-96 road victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Gobert paired 18 points with 11 rebounds and was the focal point of sublime execution in the fourth quarter, recording dunks off pick-and-rolls and second-chance opportunities. Minnesota trailed by four entering the fourth but took a 92-83 lead on Gobert’s dunk with 6:19 left to play and went on to outscore the Rockets 27-15 in the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves thrived via a collective effort. Russell added six assists while Anthony Edwards, hampered by left hip soreness, added 21 points and combined with Russell to shoot 7 for 14 on 3-pointers. Kyle Anderson was the lone starter to not score in double figures, but he tallied six rebounds, six assists and four steals along with his six points.

Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets with 25 points, but Houston shot just 11 of 36 from behind the arc en route to a ninth consecutive home loss. Jalen Green missed 11 of 15 shots while scoring nine points and Alperen Sengun had 18 points but failed to score in the second half, going 0 for 6 from the floor.

Courtesy of 57.7 percent shooting and a combined 18 points from Porter and Sengun, the Rockets led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter. Edwards scored eight points during a late surge in the period, but Houston extended a nine-point lead entering the second to 58-38 with a 19-9 run, featuring a three-point play from Eric Gordon and 3s from Tari Eason and Garrison Mathews.

Sengun scored six points while KJ Martin added a pair of dunks during the five-minute rally.

But the Timberwolves fashioned an immediate response, closing the period on a 20-4 run that included 10 points from Jaden McDaniels and six from Edwards. Despite Sengun’s 18, the Rockets held a modest 62-58 halftime lead.

Just over one minute into the second half, Minnesota seized a 63-62 lead on an Edwards 3.

–Field Level Media