Howard, Rockets down Wolves in Mexico City

Mexico City, MX ( – Dwight Howard returned to the court and
posted 22 points with 10 rebounds, leading the Houston Rockets in a 113-101
win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City.

Howard also blocked four shots for the Rockets, who improved to 7-0 this
season when the eight-time All-Star is in the lineup. He missed Saturday’s
98-87 loss to the Warriors with flu-like symptoms.

James Harden overcame a difficult night shooting and an injury scare in the
third quarter, finishing with 23 points and 10 assists on 8-of-23 from the
floor, and Trevor Ariza added 19. Harden briefly left the game after landing
awkwardly on his ankle but returned and played just under 40 minutes.

“We love playing here,” said Harden. “The fans in Mexico are great.”

Houston also became the first team in NBA history to make 10 or more 3-
pointers in each its first eight games. Kostas Papanikolaou and Jason Terry
helped in that area, sinking four and three triples, respectively, off the
bench without a miss.

Corey Brewer scored 18 points off the bench and Andrew Wiggins had 15 for
Minnesota, which has not won since point guard Ricky Rubio went down with an
ankle injury in Friday’s overtime loss to Orlando.

The young Wolves played Houston tough in the first half. Both teams shot 20-
for-44, and Houston owned a slim 53-49 lead.

Houston finally created some separation with a 10-4 run to open the second
half. Isaiah Canaan capped the burst by splitting two defenders and flying in
for a layup at 7:14.

Wiggins made two free throws later in the frame to get Minnesota back within
four, but Howard scored at the rim and Terry potted a corner 3-ball and it was
back to nine. Terry drilled another trey at 1:11 and Tarik Black beat the
buzzer with a layup as the Rockets owned a comfortable 84-70 advantage after

Minnesota’s deficit just grew after that, with Terry’s third triple 10 seconds
into the fourth setting the tone for the final period.

Game Notes

The Rockets were once again without starting guard Patrick Beverley
(hamstring) and forward Terrence Jones (leg). Both players will be re-
evaluated later in the week … Rookie Zach LaVine made his second career
start at point guard for the Wolves and had nine assists … Nikola Pekovic
had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota.