Michael Beasley's 34 points, big third quarter help spark Wolves
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Michael Beasley's play at times likely has caused the Minnesota Timberwolves to wonder whether he has a future with the organization.
On Monday, Beasley put on a display that reminded the Wolves why patience might be the best idea when it comes to the 23-year-old.
Coming off the bench, Beasley scored a season-high 34 points and the Wolves used a franchise-record 42-point third quarter to cruise to a 120-108 victory over the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.
It marked only the second time in 17 games that the Wolves have beaten the Rockets.
The Wolves shot 15 of 24 from the field and had eight assists during the 12-minute stretch, helping them avenge a 107-92 loss to the Rockets seven days ago at Target Center.
Beasley's 34 points were his most since he scored a career-high 42 last November against the Sacramento Kings. Beasley matched the Wolves' record for most points off the bench, a mark shared by Wally Szczerbiak and Rashad McCants.
Beasley came off the bench for the third-consecutive game after returning from a mid-foot sprain he suffered Jan. 6 in loss to the Cavaliers, but coach Rick Adelman likely will put him back in the starting lineup on Wednesday against Indiana.
Adelman refused to say if Beasley had earned himself a starting job in his postgame press conference.
Beasley made 10 of 14 shots from the field, including two of three three-pointers, and was a perfect 12 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Adelman returned to Houston, where he spent four seasons (2007-2011) as head coach of the Rockets and compiled a 193-135 record. Houston also won a playoff series with Adelman as coach during the 2008-09 season.
The Wolves took a two point lead into the second quarter with some balanced scoring, but it was Beasley who provided his second consecutive strong performance.
The Wolves' balanced scoring attack continued into the third quarter when they opened up an 11-point lead after a 20-9 run. The Wolves had seven players with at least five points during that stretch.
Rubio had another game where he looked like a no-brainer for Rookie of the Year honors. He finished two rebounds shy of his first triple-double, scoring 18 points, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing eight rebounds in 36 minutes.
The most promising thing about Rubio's stat line was his shooting. He was six of 10 from the field and two of three from behind the three-point arc. In his previous six games, Rubio was only 20 of 73 from the field.
Rubio even managed to out-rebound Love.
The Wolves' All-Star forward managed to score 29 points and added seven rebounds and a pair of steals in 36 minutes.
The Wolves' franchise-record third quarter turned the game into a route. The Wolves went from down two to up 17 in the 42-point frame and put enough distance between themselves and Houston that they were able to hold off every charge the Rockets attempted to make.
• 6: Turnovers for Johnson, who played 20 unproductive minutes. He shot two of seven and scored four points. His days in the starting lineup appear to be numbered.
• 6: Minutes for Anthony Tolliver, who hadn't played in the past two games before Monday.
• 42: Wolves' points in the third quarter, the most in a single period for the team this season and a franchise record.
• 7: Minutes for rookie Derrick Williams who is continuing to get lost in the shuffle with the return of Webster and Beasley from injury.
• Milicic did not make the trip after missing the past two games because of an illness. The Wolves expected to have him back in Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, but after warming up before the game he complained of dizziness and fatigue. Pekovic started in Milicic's place for the third consecutive game.
• Guard J.J. Barea did make the trip but he, once again, did not play because of the hamstring injury that has derailed his debut season with the Wolves. Barea warmed up before the game and the fact that he traveled can be seen as a positive. He is officially listed as day-to-day and is expected back at some point this week.
• Malcolm Lee also did not travel with the team as he continues to rehab from a torn MCL. The Wolves' second-round pick from UCLA has yet to make his NBA debut after signing a three-year contract with the Wolves during training camp.
The Wolves don't play Tuesday after having back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. The team might have the opportunity to get in a full-squad practice for seemingly the first time this season.
When the Wolves have had time to practice this season - and it hasn't been often given the 66-game schedule caused by the NBA lockout - they have struggled to even scrimmage five-on-five because of how many players have been nursing injuries.
They return to the court Wednesday when they play host to the Indiana Pacers at Target Center. It is the first meeting between the teams.
The Wolves will get another day off Thursday before hopping on a plane and heading to New Jersey to take on former Gopher/Kardashian Kris Humphries and the Nets on Friday.