James Harden takes career-high 41 shots, drops 49 to lead Rockets past Timberwolves

Once again, James Harden proved that he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball.

Harden dropped 49 points, and took a career-high 41 shots from the field, in Houston’s 125-105 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at the Target Center. 

More than half of his shots came from behind the arc, too, with Harden going 8-of-22 from the 3-point line and 16-of-41 overall. His 41 shot attempts marked the second-most in Rockets history, behind just Elvin Hayes in 1968, and it was just the fifth time in his career that he’s attempted at least 20 3-pointers in a single game.

Houston trailed for most of the first two quarters on Saturday, and even fell into an early 11-point hole in the first quarter. It wasn’t until late in the third that the Rockets finally rallied back to take their first significant lead of the game. Then, a clutch 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for the Rockets, leading them to the 25-point win.

Ben McLemore added 20 points for the Rockets, shooting 7-of-16 from the field. Austin Rivers and Chris Clemons each put up 19. They were the only four to score in double figures for Houston — which shot a collective 45 percent from the floor.

The Rockets were extremely short-handed on Saturday, too. Russell Westbrook sat out of the back-to-back game after playing on Friday night, while Clint Capela, Danuel House and Eric Gordon were all out with injuries.

That, Harden said, opened up the game for others to rise to the occasion.

“We’ve never really had so many guys out like this, so we kind of wanted to see who was going to get it going,” Harden said, via the Rockets. “A few guys got it going … Multiple guys stepped up, and that’s what you need from a win like this.”

Karl-Anthony Towns lead the Timberwolves with a double-double, finishing with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Jake Layman added 21 points for Minnesota, and Robert Covington finished with 17. 

Houston has now won seven straight games, and Harden has scored at least 42 points in four of his last five games. The only contest in that stretch where he missed the mark was his 39-point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

Behind a career-high 41 shots, James Harden led the Rockets to a dominant 20-point win against the Timberwolves on Saturday night. (AP/Andy Clayton- King)

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