Let’s not mince words: the Houston Rockets started the third quarter up by a point, and ended it up by 31. That’s what happens when you have a 50-point quarter, only the second ever recorded in NBA postseason history. And that’s exactly what happened to the poor Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 on Monday in a game that ended in a 119-100 Houston victory.
Yes, 50 — F-I-F-T-Y. Houston started the third quarter in a dogfight and ended it in cruise control. They began with questions swirling and complaints about their isolation offense pinging around Twitter, and they ended it with basketball writers frantically looking up how many records the team broke in a historic 12-minute shellacking.
Here are a few:
- The 50-point quarter is the second-highest scoring postseason quarter in history. The first was the Los Angeles Lakers with 51 points in 1962. The Lakers actually lost that game! Since Los Angeles accomplished their feat in the fourth quarter, Houston’s Game 4 frame goes down as the highest scoring third quarter ever.
- James Harden had 22 points, a Rockets franchise record for a postseason quarter.
- Harden and Chris Paul combined for 37 points, the most points they have combined for as teammates in any quarter in their one season playing together.
- At one point, Houston was on a 73-33 run, erasing a six-point deficit halfway through the second quarter and taking a 34-point lead at their highest lead.
Houston’s offense had strangely struggled this series after demolishing Minnesota in the regular season. In Game 1, Harden carried the team to a win nearly by himself, only to struggle the next two games while Houston split the two. The 2-1 series lead still put Houston in a good spot, but the Rockets certainly had no desire for the series to be tied.
Harden started 0-of-7 with stifling Minnesota defense, but he clearly found himself in the third frame, hitting shots like this.
The Beard #Rockets his way to 22 in the 3rd as HOU scores 50!#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/HXPhPv6Oh2— NBA (@NBA) April 24, 2018
The shot that took them to 50 came from Eric Gordon, who splashed this home as time expired.
Eric Gordon at the Buzzer! - TNT pic.twitter.com/sdwZwDpyLM— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 24, 2018
It’ll be interesting to see if Houston comes up with the same amount of fire in Game 5 to close this series out at home, but for now, it’s safe to say that any questions about why their offense was struggling has been quenched.