In what was virtually a must-win game for the Houston Rockets, All-Star gurad James Harden and centered Dwight Howard powered their team to a 129-105 victory Monday night in Minnesota.

Harden lit up the Timberwolves for 34 points, while Howard added 19 points and eight rebounds.

Houston came into the tilt in ninth place in the Western Conference Playoff chase.

Per the AP:

Harden made 12 of 21 shots in three quarters, Trevor Ariza scored 21 points and the Rockets made 15 of 30 3-pointers. […] Houston (40-41) entered the game in ninth place in the Western Conference and could have been eliminated with a loss and a win by the Utah Jazz over Dallas.

 

“It was important for us,” Harden said. “This is our playoff opportunity. We want to come out this entire game and just put the pressure on from the beginning of the game. We got out to a big jump and just rode that wave the whole game.”

 

The Mavericks beat the Jazz later on Monday night. If the Rockets beat the Kings at home on Wednesday in the season finale, they will be in the playoffs. […] “See you in Golden State,” Rockets veteran Jason Terry said as he left Target Center, referring to a potential 1-8 matchup with the Warriors.