Timberwolves 120, Rockets 108

Rick Adelman has mostly good memories from his years in Houston,

and his new team delivered one more on Monday night.

Michael Beasley scored 34 points, Ricky Rubio had 18 points and

11 assists and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Rockets 120-108

in Adelman’s return to Houston.

Kevin Love had 29 points for the Timberwolves, who blew open a

close game with a franchise-record 42 points in the third, also a

season high for any quarter.

The 6-foot-10 Beasley, in just his third game back after missing

11 games with a sprained right foot, set a franchise record for

single-game points by a reserve. He went 10 for 14 from the field

and 12 for 12 from the free-throw line to finish just eight points

shy of his career high.

”That’s what I’ve got to do,” Beasley said. ”I’ve got to

penetrate, use my athleticism.”

Minnesota shot a season-best 58 percent (43 of 74) from the

field and eclipsed its previous high point total for the season by

14.

And it could’ve hardly happened on a better night for Adelman,

who turned down the Rockets’ offer to renew his contract after last

season because of philosophical differences with owner Leslie

Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey.

”We didn’t try to attack on one pass, we moved the ball from

side to side,” Adelman said. ”I thought we could get to the

basket if we did that. It was a really good team win. A lot of guys

played and a lot of guys contributed.”

Adelman revealed more about the reasons for his departure before

the game, half-joking that he was still awaiting a phone call from

Alexander. Adelman said he read in a local newspaper column that he

was to blame for the communication breakdown between the two during

his tenure.

”I didn’t think anything of it, until I saw the stuff about how

I never listened to anything,” he said. ”I’m not real smart, but

I’m going to listen to my boss. That just kind of turned me the

wrong way.”

Morey walked up and shook Adelman’s hand during pregame warmups,

and the two had a brief, apparently cordial conversation.

Adelman seemed more animated on the sideline than usual, though,

especially once the second half began.

The Timberwolves opened the second half with a 12-4 burst,

capped by Love’s second 3-pointer for a 66-60 lead. Kyle Lowry and

Kevin Martin answered with 3-pointers, and Lowry turned a steal

into a breakaway layup to tie it at 68.

Minnesota then pushed the tempo and poured it on, finishing the

quarter with a 19-6 spurt. The Wolves hit 15 of 24 shots, including

four 3-pointers, and went 8 for 8 from the free-throw line to put

together the highest scoring quarter against Houston this

season.

”It was just like we were sitting there and we could never find

any kind of rhythm defensively,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said.

”We never got many consecutive stops, we never really dug in and

got things.”

Rubio, Beasley and Love led the scoring barrage, with 32 points

in the third on 10-for-12 shooting. Minnesota led 96-81 heading to

the fourth, and the Rockets hardly challenged the rest of the

way.

”It’s fun basketball when you’re that efficient,” Love said.

”We got open shots, set good picks and we just did the little

things that helped us have a big third quarter.”

Martin scored 29 points after missing two games with

inflammation in his right heel. The Rockets lost for only the

second time in 11 games.

”Just felt like one of those games when we were stuck in the

mud,” McHale said.

Minnesota finished 28 of 31 from the free-throw line and dished

out 18 assists. The Timberwolves have won six of nine to get within

one game of .500, and they’re starting to get excited about the

possibilities this season.

”We know we can go on big runs,” Love said. ”It’s just the

case of not getting down so much and not having to fight back from

such a large deficit.”

Chase Budinger scored 13 for Houston, also outrebounded

40-34.

The Rockets beat Minnesota 107-92 a week ago in McHale’s first

game back in his home state since he succeeded Adelman last June.

The teams play again in Minneapolis on Saturday.

NOTES: The Timberwolves have five road wins, already matching

their total in each of the previous two seasons. … Timberwolves G

J.J. Barea (sprained left ankle) sat out for the 10th time in 11

games. … The Rockets had their streak of games with double-digit

leads halted at 13. … Minnesota’s field-goal percentage (58

percent) was a high for a Houston opponent this season.