Rockets use big 3rd quarter again, beat Timberwolves 122-104 to close out series in 5 games


HOUSTON – For the third time in the last four seasons, the Houston Rockets are off to the Western Conference semifinals, thanks to a 122-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Five.

WATCH: Rockets post-Game 5 interview with Mike D'Antoni

After yet another lackluster start that saw the Rockets trailing 59-55 at the half, Houston used another hot start to the third quarter to pull away from the 8th-seeded Wolves. The Rockets outscored Minnesota 30-15 in the third, behind 15 points from James Harden. The likely league MVP finished the game with 24 points and 12 assists.

Chris Paul scored 10 of his 12 points after intermission, while Clint Capela posted his third double-double of the series (26 points, 15 rebounds).

PHOTOS: Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves Game 5

The Rockets trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, as the Timberwolves shot 55% from the field and knocked down seven three’s. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with a team-high 23 points for Minnesota, while Jimmy Butler had just 8 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

Eric Gordon (19 points), Trevor Ariza (16 points), and P.J. Tucker (15 points) all reached double-figures for Houston, who now await the winner of the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz lead that series three-games-to-two.