Rockets 120, Timberwolves 94

This time, there was no second half disappearing act by the

Houston Rockets.

Luis Scola scored 24 points and Kevin Martin added 21 to help

the Houston Rockets win their first game of the season with a

120-94 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

The Rockets led at the half in four of their first five losses

and then faded in the second half. They had no such letdown against

the Timberwolves. They had lost the first five games by an average

of six points.

”It was just good to get a win after all this time and we’ve

been so close,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. ”To come out and

get one now we can start moving in the other direction.”

Yao Ming, playing under a strict time limit while recovering

from foot surgery, had 13 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

Shane Battier added 17 points for Houston, which lost its first

five games. The Rockets lost their first 10 games in 1982-83.

”We did a much better job of finding Yao,” Adelman said.

”Taking it away and then coming to him and reposting him, they had

trouble guarding him so we wanted to be sure we went to him.”

Minnesota lost for the sixth time in seven games. Kevin Love led

the Timberwolves with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Michael Beasley

added 15 points.

”We were mentally prepared for the game but we couldn’t throw a

pea into the ocean,” Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. ”Our

confidence got sucked out of us and we just couldn’t make a shot.

Our defense was compromised and it was a tough loss.”

The Rockets made 39 of 47 free throws and committed just seven

turnovers.

Yao and Martin combined to give the Rockets a 60-37 halftime

lead and Scola kept the pressure up with 13 points in the third

quarter to help Houston extend its advantage to 97-67 heading to

the fourth.

Yao came in with 9:17 to go in the second period and scored 11

points over seven minutes. Martin had 12 points in the quarter,

including a pair of 3-pointers.

Love acknowledged the Timberwolves had a rough time defending

Yao.

”This was a team we probably could have beaten,” Love said.

”Houston was ready and set the tone early with Yao inside. Scola

and the rest of their team got to the free throw line a lot. When

they shoot the ball so well, it makes it tough for us.”

Yao sat out Saturday night’s 124-121 overtime loss to the

Spurs.

”I’m obviously just very pleased about the way we came out and

played after last night,” Adelman said. ”We responded and from

the very start of the game we were aggressive and active and we

played a pretty solid game the whole way through.”

The Rockets made only seven shots in the first quarter, but they

still took a 26-14 lead because the Timberwolves had only one field

goal over the final 7:35 of the opening period.

Notes: Aaron Brooks (sprained left ankle), Kyle Lowry (back

spasms) sat out the game for the Rockets. … Luke Ridnour injured

his hamstring and didn’t play in the second half. … Minnesota’s

biggest loss this season was 42 points to Orlando, 128-86.