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Timberwolves halt red-hot Rockets’ win streak

Westbrook nets 18th triple-double to earn Thunder win over Grizzlies

Image Credit: AP
Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins dunks as Houston Rockets’ James Harden looks on during the first quarter of an NBA game on Wednesday.
Gulf News

Los Angeles: Andrew Wiggins scored a team high 28 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped the Houston Rockets nine-game winning streak Wednesday with a 119-105 NBA victory at the Target Center arena.

Karl-Anthony Towns tallied 23 points and 18 rebounds to post his ninth consecutive double-double and Ricky Rubio had 10 points and tied his career high with 17 assists in the Timberwolves’ second straight win.

“I’m not going to joke with you,” said Canadian Wiggins. “When we got to the fourth quarter with that kind of lead, you can’t let it slide.

“We did a great job of just making sure we kept the lead and stayed disciplined, and did what we needed to do.”

Brandon Rush had 12 points on four three-pointers in his first start for Minnesota and Shabazz Muhammad came off the bench to score 20 points.

“Tonight we learnt a lesson and we kept attacking, especially running back on defence,” said Rubio.

The Timberwolves were without third-leading scorer Zach LaVine.

James Harden had 33 points, six rebounds and 12 assists for Houston, which had its league-best winning streak halted. Ryan Anderson added 18 points, but the Rockets shot 41 per cent from the floor and 15 of 42 on three-pointers.

“We missed a lot of uncharacteristic shots,” Anderson said. “We normally get stops and it fuels our offence on the other side.

“But they did a great job of being aggressive on us. We didn’t play our game.”

Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook earned his 18th triple-double to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“I just read the game,” Westbrook said. “You have to read it. Makes plays and take what the defence gives you.”

Westbrook tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. The 18 triple-doubles is the most by any player since Magic Johnson during the 1981-82 season.

Enes Kanter finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 16 points as the Thunder improved to 24-16.


Main focus

“That was our main focus coming,” Thunder centre Steven Adams said. “Memphis is known to be physical so we just tried to match that and take it to another level.”

Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 22 points and six assists while Chandler Parsons and Zach Randolph each scored 14 points.

In Portland, Oregon, CJ McCollum scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half, and Allen Crabbe scored 24 points off the bench as the Portland Trail Blazers crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-86 at Moda Center.

McCollum hit the 25-point barrier for the seventh consecutive game, and Crabbe was nine of 11 from the field as the Trail Blazers won a second straight game for the first time since early December.

LeBron James collected 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Love had 17 points and eight boards for the Cavaliers, who lost for the second straight time and are 2-2 on their six-game road trip.

In Los Angeles, J.J. Redick scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Clippers won their fifth in a row with a 105-96 victory over the Orlando Magic.


Fact Box

Wednesday’s Games

Philadelphia 98, New York 97

Boston 117, Washington 108

Minnesota 119, Houston 105

Oklahoma City 103, Memphis 95

L.A. Clippers 105, Orlando 96

Portland 102, Cleveland 86

SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: January 24, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots and scores over San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio. The score allowed James to reach the 30,000 milestone for his career.