In battle of NBA’s worst, Rockets lament historic collapse at Minnesota

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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In a battle of the NBA’s two worst teams by record, and with draft-lottery odds arguably the biggest prize, the Rockets pulled off a nearly impossible loss by going scoreless over Friday’s final seven-plus minutes in Minnesota. Houston has now lost 22 of its last 23 games, overall.

A jumper from DJ Augustin put Houston up 16 with 7:31 left in the game, and they were then outscored 22-0 the rest of the way in a stunning 107-101 victory (box score) for the Timberwolves. With the win, Minnesota improved to 11-34, which puts the Rockets (12-32) within range of the league’s worst mark — and with a rematch looming in under 24 hours.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Houston is just the fourth NBA team over the last 25 years to go scoreless over the last 7:30 of a game.

Star center Karl-Anthony Towns was the clear standout for Minnesota with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 assists, while his counterpart, Christian Wood, led the Rockets with 24 points and 9 rebounds.

John Wall dished out a season-high 15 assists, but he shot just 6-of-25 (24.0%) from the field and went 0-of-6 in the decisive and isolation-heavy fourth quarter. Wall also had a game-high seven turnovers.

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Augustin added 13 points off the bench for Houston, while starting forwards Sterling Brown (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Jae’Sean Tate (10 points, 7 rebounds) each scored in double-figures. With Danuel House Jr. out for personal reasons, Ben McLemore started in his place and scored a season-high 21 points on 7-of-14 (50.0%) from 3-point range.

Houston and Minnesota will play again on Saturday night, also at Target Center in Minneapolis. For now, here’s a look at highlights and postgame reaction following night one of the back-to-back.

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