NBA: Timberwolves race past Rockets in high-scoring opener

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Oct 21 2021 11:15 AM

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) dunks the ball on a breakaway against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Target Center. Nick Wosika, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards (1) dunks the ball on a breakaway against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Target Center. Nick Wosika, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell fueled an explosive season debut for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who rolled to a 124-106 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Towns paired 30 points (on 11-of-15 shooting) with 10 rebounds while Edwards chipped in 29 points while hitting six 3-pointers. Russell finished with 22 points and seven assists as Minnesota grabbed a first-quarter lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 35.

Christian Wood had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who received a combined 20 points on 8-for-26 shooting from their youthful backcourt duo Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, the second overall pick of the 2021 draft. Eric Gordon added 15 points off the Houston bench.

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The Rockets fashioned an 11-2 run to open the second half, a last-ditch effort capped by a Green floater. But the Timberwolves called timeout and quickly reclaimed control with an 18-3 burst that extended their lead to 92-59 with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter. 

Russell drilled four 3s during that stretch as the Timberwolves applied the knockout blow.

Minnesota seized control with a 10-0 run midway through the opening period, capitalizing on a slew of Houston turnovers. The Rockets committed three turnovers and missed all three of their shot attempts during that Timberwolves rally, and they closed the first period with eight turnovers.

After recording six fast-break points and a plus-11 rebounding margin in the first, the Timberwolves pulled away in the second with an 11-1 spurt that pushed the lead to 20 points.

Towns had a pair of free throws, a hook shot and a block during that run while Edwards added two perimeter jumpers, and Minnesota extended that rally by closing the half on an 18-9 blitz.

Towns and Edwards combined for 42 points on 7-of-13 3-point shooting prior to the intermission as Minnesota carried a 72-45 lead into the locker room. While Gordon scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, the rest of the Rockets missed 23 of 36 shots.

Houston finished with 24 turnovers.