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Rockets’ Russell Westbrook scores 45, James Harden struggles in win over Timberwolves

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Rockets shooting guard James Harden was still not able to overcome his scoring slump in tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Fortunately for Houston, they had another stellar scorer in Russell Westbrook as the former MVP carried his team to a 131-124 win Friday night in Minneapolis’ Target Center.

Seemingly to remind doubters of his presence and impact in a team, Westbrook recorded a 45-point game, his highest since joining the team this season, reuniting with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden. Aside from scoring an efficient 16-of-27 from the field and without attempting a three-pointer, he also tallied six rebounds and ten assists. The All-Star has been on the tear over the last seven games, averaging 33.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 9.1 assists.

“That’s MVP Russ,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

In contrast, Harden notoriously went 1-of-17 in a home loss against the Thunder last Monday. He is also averaging 33-percent from the field over the past five games. This game was no different, as he went 3-of-13 from the field and 0-of-6 from three, finishing with a season-low 12 points in 35 minutes of playtime, also adding 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He also checked out of the third period after he took a knee from Karl-Anthony Towns. He eventually returned in the fourth quarter, but never managed to find his groove.

Harden is happy that they got the win despite his shooting woes and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Guys are playing well, and that’s what we need throughout the course of the year,” Harden said. “Russ got it going, Eric made some big-time shots. Austin (Rivers) played well. That’s what you need. Tonight was just a great team win for us.”

However, despite the Beard’s continued poor shooting streak, he was recently declared as an All-Star starter for the West, joined by sophomore first-time all-star Luka Doncic.

The Rockets currently have a record of 28-16, sitting at the sixth spot of the Western Conference. They will have a chance to improve their record against the fourth seed Denver Nuggets on Sunday.