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Rockets 113, Timberwolves 101

Rockets 113, Timberwolves 101: James Harden had 23 points and 10 assists as Houston pulled away in the second half in Mexico City.

Dwight Howard added 22 points and 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza scored 19 for the Rockets, who improved to 7-1 to continue their best start since opening 15-1 in 1996-97. Kostas Papanikolaou paced the Houston reserves with 14 points.

Corey Brewer scored 18 points off the bench to lead the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins contributed 15 points, Kevin Martin scored 12 and Nikola Pekovic finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota.

The first regular-season NBA game played in Mexico since 1997 remained close throughout the first half as Houston took a four-point lead into the break behind a combined 27 points from Harden and Howard. Minnesota began letting the game get away by missing its first seven field-goal attempts of the second half, and Houston took its first double-digit lead at 63-53 on Isaiah Canaan’s layup with 7:13 left in third quarter.

Wiggins and Martin tried to keep the Timberwolves close by combining for 12 of their team’s next 15 points, but both checked out of the game for the final minutes of the third and the Rockets finished the quarter on a 14-6 run to take a 14-point lead into the fourth. Jason Terry opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer for Houston and the Timberwolves couldn’t trim the lead back to single digits.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Rockets starting PG Patrick Beverley missed his third straight game and fifth in the last six with a hamstring injury, and starting PF Terrence Williams missed his fourth straight game with a leg injury. … Martin had his streak of made free throws end at 27 with a miss midway through the third quarter. … Terry went 3-for-3 from 3-point range, improving the 16-year veteran to 18-for-33 on the season.

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