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Butler hurt as Rockets beat Wolves for 11th straight win

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden scored 31 points and the Houston Rockets won their 11th straight game with a 120-102 victory Friday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost All-Star Jimmy Butler to an apparent right knee injury.

Butler left the game late in the third quarter. After grabbing a rebound late in the third quarter, he pivoted and planted hard on his right foot before collapsing and grabbing his right knee. He was on the floor for at least three minutes before he was carried off the court by two teammates. He appeared to avoid putting weight on his right leg when heading to the locker room.

A Timberwolves official said during the fourth quarter that Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau would provide an update on Butler's injury following the game.

Clint Capela had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Houston, getting his 10th double-double over the past 13 games. Chris Paul added 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The Rockets trailed for much of the first half before going ahead to maintain the NBA's best record.

Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 21 points, and Jeff Teague and Karl-Anthony Towns both had 18 points. Towns added 13 rebounds.

The Rockets have won 11 straight at home against the Timberwolves and will go for a four-game season series sweep in Minnesota on March 18. In their previous three meetings, Houston overwhelmed Minnesota from beyond the arc, making 19.5 3-pointers per game. But whether it was rust or an improved defensive strategy from Minnesota, Houston was limited to just 14 of 38 3-pointers on Friday night.

The Rockets were without guard Eric Gordon, who was a game-time scratch with an illness. P.J. Tucker started in his place and had 11 points in 28 minutes.

Trevor Ariza, who missed the previous nine games before the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, was back in the starting rotation and scored 11 points in 26 minutes.

Minnesota went on a 22-8 run to build an early lead and led 32-26 at the end of the first quarter. Houston closed out the second quarter on a 9-2 run to hold a 55-54 lead at halftime.

The Timberwolves have lost four of their last six.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: After Butler fell to the floor, the play continued and ended with Taj Gibson committing a horse-collar-like takedown of Harden on a layup. Harden made the desperation heave and ensuing free throw to put the Rockets up 14. ... Towns and fellow 7-footer Cole Aldrich served as human crutches in escorting Butler to the locker room.

Rockets: With a steal in the third quarter, Paul passed Allen Iverson for 12th on the NBA's career list with 1,984. Mookie Blaylock is 11th with 2,075 steals. ... In his second game with the Rockets, veteran small forward Joe Johnson had 10 points in 22 minutes.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Host Chicago on Saturday night.

Rockets: Visit Denver on Sunday night.

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Key Players
K. Towns
32 C
J. Harden
13 SG
35.8 Min. Per Game 35.8
31.3 Pts. Per Game 31.3
9.0 Ast. Per Game 9.0
5.1 Reb. Per Game 5.1
54.3 Field Goal % 44.5
54.6 Three Point % 44.6
86.1 Free Throw % 86.8
  Lost ball turnover on Shabazz Muhammad, stolen by James Harden 0:12
+ 3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 0:21
  Defensive rebound by Chris Paul 0:41
  Tyus Jones missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:43
  Out of bounds turnover on Chris Paul 0:55
+ 2 Shabazz Muhammad made driving dunk, assist by Tyus Jones 1:07
+ 2 Chris Paul made jump shot 1:10
+ 2 Shabazz Muhammad made layup, assist by Nemanja Bjelica 1:28
  Bad pass turnover on James Harden, stolen by Nemanja Bjelica 1:30
  Bad pass turnover on Nemanja Bjelica, stolen by Trevor Ariza 1:35
+ 3 Trevor Ariza made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 1:43
Team Stats
Points 102 120
Field Goals 40-94 (42.6%) 40-82 (48.8%)
3-Pointers 10-26 (38.5%) 14-38 (36.8%)
Free Throws 12-16 (75.0%) 26-30 (86.7%)
Total Rebounds 49 55
Offensive 16 14
Defensive 26 36
Team 7 5
Assists 19 24
Steals 7 6
Blocks 3 2
Turnovers 10 11
Fouls 22 17
Technicals 0 1
18 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST
31 PTS, 2 REB, 9 AST
1234T
away team logo Timberwolves 36-26 32222127102
home team logo Rockets 45-13 26293332120
Team Stats
away team logo Timberwolves 36-26 109.6 PPG 44 RPG 23.1 APG
home team logo Rockets 45-13 105.3 PPG 41.1 RPG 20.5 APG
Key Players
A. Wiggins SF 17.4 PPG 4.0 RPG 2.5 APG 40.5 FG%
J. Harden SG 27.8 PPG 5.3 RPG 7.3 APG 42.5 FG%
Top Scorers
A. Wiggins SF 21 PTS 4 REB 2 AST
J. Harden SG 31 PTS 2 REB 9 AST
42.6 FG% 48.8
38.5 3PT FG% 36.8
75.0 FT% 86.7
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Wiggins 36 21 4 2 0 0 1 2 8/16 3/6 2/4 2 2 28 -8
J. Teague 35 18 4 4 2 0 2 3 8/14 0/2 2/2 1 3 30 -5
K. Towns 31 18 13 3 0 1 2 3 6/15 1/2 5/5 4 9 36 -6
J. Butler 25 10 5 3 1 0 0 1 4/14 1/4 1/1 3 2 22 -9
T. Gibson 27 9 3 1 0 1 3 3 4/6 0/0 1/2 1 2 12 -8
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Wiggins 36 21 4 2 0 0 1 2 8/16 3/6 2/4 2 2 28 -8
J. Teague 35 18 4 4 2 0 2 3 8/14 0/2 2/2 1 3 30 -5
K. Towns 31 18 13 3 0 1 2 3 6/15 1/2 5/5 4 9 36 -6
J. Butler 25 10 5 3 1 0 0 1 4/14 1/4 1/1 3 2 22 -9
T. Gibson 27 9 3 1 0 1 3 3 4/6 0/0 1/2 1 2 12 -8
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 23 14 3 0 0 0 0 4 5/16 3/7 1/2 1 2 17 -14
N. Bjelica 20 5 4 3 3 0 1 1 2/4 1/1 0/0 1 3 17 -10
S. Muhammad 3 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 2/4 0/0 0/0 0 0 3 -3
T. Jones 16 3 2 2 1 0 0 2 1/5 1/4 0/0 0 2 10 -12
G. Dieng 16 0 4 1 0 1 0 2 0/0 0/0 0/0 3 1 7 -12
M. Georges-Hunt 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -3
A. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Aldrich - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Jefferson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 102 42 19 7 3 10 22 40/94 10/26 12/16 16 26 182 -90
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 34 31 2 9 2 0 5 2 8/24 3/10 12/12 0 2 48 +12
C. Capela 31 25 11 2 1 1 1 3 10/11 0/0 5/6 7 4 41 +4
C. Paul 32 14 10 8 1 0 3 1 5/11 0/5 4/4 1 9 38 +9
P. Tucker 28 11 5 1 0 0 1 2 4/7 3/5 0/0 2 3 17 +5
T. Ariza 26 11 5 1 1 1 0 3 4/8 3/6 0/0 1 4 20 +7
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 34 31 2 9 2 0 5 2 8/24 3/10 12/12 0 2 48 +12
C. Capela 31 25 11 2 1 1 1 3 10/11 0/0 5/6 7 4 41 +4
C. Paul 32 14 10 8 1 0 3 1 5/11 0/5 4/4 1 9 38 +9
P. Tucker 28 11 5 1 0 0 1 2 4/7 3/5 0/0 2 3 17 +5
T. Ariza 26 11 5 1 1 1 0 3 4/8 3/6 0/0 1 4 20 +7
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Johnson 21 10 3 1 0 0 1 3 4/6 2/3 0/0 0 3 14 +9
R. Anderson 19 7 6 1 0 0 0 2 2/8 2/6 1/2 2 4 15 +13
Nene 16 7 3 0 0 0 0 1 2/2 0/0 3/4 0 3 10 +14
G. Green 5 3 4 1 1 0 0 0 1/3 1/3 0/0 1 3 10 +6
L. Mbah a Moute 23 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/0 1/2 0 1 2 +11
B. Wright - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Gordon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Hunter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Onuaku - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Black - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Qi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 120 50 24 6 2 11 17 40/82 14/38 26/30 14 36 215 +90