NBA: Rockets explode for 22 three-pointers

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (#13) guarding against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica (#88) during their NBA game on Feb 25, 2017.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (#13) guarding against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica (#88) during their NBA game on Feb 25, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

Los Angeles (AFP) - James Harden led a balanced scoring attack with 24 points as the Houston Rockets set a league record for three-pointers with a 142-130 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

Harden also had 10 assists and finished five-of-11 from beyond the arc for the Rockets, who improved to 42-18.

Houston made 22 of 58 three-pointers and it marked their eighth game this season with at least 20 three-pointers, breaking the NBA mark set by the Golden State Warriors in the 2015-16 season.

"There's nothing we can do. They just run down the court shooting the ball," Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins said.

"You shoot 58 (three-pointers) and you're bound to make 20 of them. They just put it up."

Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon hit four three-pointers each while posting 18 and 14 points respectively.

Trevor Ariza added three three-pointers and Nene and Lou Williams came off the bench to tally 11 and 17 points respectively.

Eight Rockets scored in double figures. That collective effort offset dominating performances from Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (37 points, 22 rebounds) and Wiggins (30 points).

Minnesota dropped to 23-36 on the season and finished with a 58-31 rebounding advantage.

In Miami, the Heat continued its hot streak by taking advantage of Paul George's ejection to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 at the American Airlines Arena.

Pacers All-Star forward George was ejected after getting hit with his second technical foul with 8min 49sec left in the third period.

He scored 10 points and grabbed one rebound in 19 minutes.

Miami who had won 16 of its last 18 games, got a double-double from center Hassan Whiteside, who had 22 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

The second technical took place when George, who thought he had been fouled while shooting a three-pointer, shouted at referee Gary Zielinski.

"He was a puppet," George said of Zielinski. "Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was in his ear. He called it. It's not like I said something derogatory to (Zielinski).

"It's a soft league. That easily could have been a warning."

Spoelstra, when asked for his view, seemed to regret that George was ejected.

"That was a verbal," Spoelstra said of the second technical. "You don't want players to miss at all. If he played (the whole game), it looked like it was going to be your typical Heat-Pacers game that goes down to the last possession.

"It was extremely physical - it always is between these two teams. It felt like a playoff-type game. (George) is an absolutely elite, great basketball player. That was unfortunate, that second T, for him."

In Cleveland, Jimmy Butler had a triple-double and Dwyane Wade flirted with another in the Chicago Bull's 117-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers who played without superstar LeBron James.

Butler scored 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Wade added 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

The Bulls have won four straight and defeated Cleveland in all three games this season.