Sports

Harden, Rockets ride record-setting quarter to rout

James Harden scored a franchise playoff-record 22 points in the third quarter to ignite a sudden offensive eruption as the Houston Rockets seized control of their Western Conference first-round playoff series with a 119-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 on Monday in Minneapolis.


Harden poured in a game-high 36 points, authoring a remarkable in-game turnaround after his 0-for-7 start. He shot 7-for-10 in the third as the Rockets matched their first-half scoring output with 50 points.


Houston, which holds a 3-1 series lead, can wrap up the best-of-seven set in Game 5 at home on Wednesday.


?We hit the switch that we?ve been trying to hit since the beginning of the playoffs, at both ends of the court,? Harden said on TNT postgame. ?It?s pretty scary what we?re capable of when defensively we?re locked in like that and offensively when we get rolling.


?Great quarter for us. Gave us the (series) lead. Now we go back to the crib and try to finish it off.?


Chris Paul scored 25 points, Eric Gordon had 18 and Trevor Ariza, who kept the cold-shooting Rockets afloat with 11 first-quarter points, chipped in 15. Clint Capela finished with a double-double of 14 points and 17 rebounds.