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The Sports Xchange, Published November 23 2013

Brooks leads Rockets over Timberwolves

HOUSTON – On a night when Houston guard Aaron Brooks turned back to the clock to glory days gone by, he proved the best candidate to articulate just how critical accurate 3-point shooting is to the Rockets’ collective hopes for sustaining their offense.

Brooks drained 6 of 7

3-pointers and scored a season-high 26 points off the bench as the Rockets drilled 17 3-pointers in their

112-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at Toyota Center.

The Rockets (9-5) relied on a balanced scoring attack to offset another fabulous performance from Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, whose 27 points and 15 rebounds paced a resilient effort bolstered by the Rockets’ miscues. Minnesota scored 37 points off 24 Houston turnovers.

Brooks was the catalyst in setting a new standard and combined with guard Patrick Beverley, who chipped in 17 points on 5 of 8 3s. Houston forward Terrence Jones (18 points, 10 rebounds) and center Dwight Howard (11 points, 13 boards) added double-doubles.

The Rockets entered Saturday night leading the NBA in 3-point attempts per game (26.8) and ranked fourth in 3s made per games (9.6). However, their 35.7 percentage from deep was just 13th. They finished 17 of 41 against Minnesota, a robust total more to their liking.

“Everybody here can shoot 3s and we’ve all done it in our career,” Brooks said. “That’s what this team was built for, to shoot around Dwight.

“Once you see one go in, you get that momentum and keep on running. And then it starts happening.”

Forward Corey Brewer scored 22 points for the Timberwolves (8-7). Guard Kevin Martin had 19 points, but the Timberwolves’ bench produced just 12 points, less than half of Brooks’ game-breaking total.

After Love paired 15 points with seven rebounds in the third quarter, Houston levied the knockout blow by opening the fourth quarter with successive treys from Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin (19 points) and Brooks.

“We thought we defended them well in close, but as far as them shooting 17 of 31 from the 3-point line, it’s tough to win,” Love said. “We showed fight, but in the end it’s really tough when the first three shots of the fourth quarter are from three and they hit three in a row.”

With leading scorer James Harden sidelined by a sore left foot, the Rockets needed someone to help fill the void created by his absence. Brooks, with one double-digit scoring game on his ledger thus season and a total of four points in his last six appearances, stepped forward.

Brooks poured in 16 points in the second quarter, hitting 4 of 5 shots from deep.

Minnesota 18 24 32 27 — 101

Houston 25 30 27 30 — 112

MINNESOTA (101)

C.Brewer 8-14 5-7 22, Love 11-22 3-3 27, Pekovic 6-13 2-4 14, Kv.Martin 7-19 2-2 19, Rubio 3-9 0-0 7, Barea 1-10 0-0 3, D.Cunningham 1-3 0-0 2, Hummel 0-2 0-0 0, Dr.Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Shved 3-6 1-1 7, Dieng 0-0 0-0 0, A.Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-100 13-17 101.

HOUSTON (112)

Parsons 6-14 1-2 14, Lin 5-11 7-8 19, Howard 5-9 1-2 11, Beverley 6-12 0-0 17, T.Jones 7-10 2-2 18, A.Brooks 10-14 0-0 26, Casspi 2-8 0-0 5, Garcia 0-1 0-0 0, Asik 0-0 2-2 2, Motiejunas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-79 13-16 112.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 8-26 (Kv.Martin 3-6, Love 2-5, Rubio 1-2, C.Brewer 1-4, Barea 1-5, Hummel 0-1, Dr.Williams 0-1, Shved 0-2), Houston 17-31 (A.Brooks 6-7, Beverley 5-8, T.Jones 2-3, Lin 2-5, Casspi 1-4, Parsons 1-4). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 46 (Love 15), Houston 59 (Howard 13). Assists: Minnesota 17 (Rubio 8), Houston 26 (Lin, A.Brooks 5). Total Fouls: Minnesota 13 (Kv.Martin 3), Houston 16 (Howard, Lin 4). A—18,196.