The Houston Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, and on Monday night they pushed the league's longest active winning streak to seven games with a 107-92 road victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Point guard Kyle Lowry front-loaded his first triple-double of the season by tallying nine points, seven assists and six rebounds in the first half of play, on his way to a 16-point, 10-assist and 10-rebound night. Lowry's first two assists of the night facilitated smooth jumpshots by Kevin Martin, and the Rockets' shooting guard was just getting started. He racked up 14 first quarter points -- in contrast to the 19 Minnesota scored as a team -- and never stopped pressing with his efficient style of play for the rest of the night. Martin did not require any additional assistance from Lowry for the rest of the night, as he finished with 31 points on a very nice 61.3 percent True Shooting.
Kevin Love managed to outscore Martin with an even better efficiency (39 points on 83.3 percent true shooting) , and Ricky Rubio managed to outduel Lowry as a distributor (12 assists), but both players scuffled when the Timberwolves lost the lead for good in a stretch that covered the final minutes of the third quarter and the first few minutes of the fourth. Everything looked great for Minnesota with 3:58 remaining in the third period. Ricky Rubio had already secured his seventh game with at least 10 assists of the season and a Love three capped a 21-11 run to give the Timberwolves their first lead of the night at 68-65.
Then everything unraveled in an instant. Rubio imploded, committing all five of his turnovers on the next five possessions he used, while Love failed to score again until 8:41 remaining in the final period. By that time the Rockets had pushed their lead back up to nine, thanks in large part a quick eight points from Goran Dragic -- who finished with 14 points, 3 assists and 3 steals. The Rockets pushed the ball after every turnover and missed jumpshot to fuel their 21-11 advantage in fast break points on the night. The Target Center crowd fell flat in response to this disastrous turn of events, a 19-3 run for the visitors, and Houston never looked back from there.
Luis Scola scored well for the Rockets -- 15 points on 7-12 shooting -- but once again had a difficult time contributing on the boards. Scola's three rebounds on Monday night marked his second-lowest total this year, and no doubt contributed to the 41-33 rebounding deficit for Houston in the game. At least Samuel Dalembert picked up some of the slack by grabbing 15 rebounds on his own. All the while, Kyle Lowry darted around the court and collected 10 boards himself and quickly facilitated successful counterattacks on his way to that impressive triple-double.
The 107-92 victory extended the Rockets' winning streak to seven games, while the Timberwolves lost their second straight contest and dropped to a disappointing 4-6 at home. Minnesota has now lost seven straight games to Houston at home and 15 of the last 16 head-to-head meetings overall.