Jeff Teague

Harden scores 34 as Rockets hold off Timberwolves 129-120

For the Houston Rockets, finally facing a challenge from Minnesota and a hostile crowd on the road was a good test to prepare for the postseason.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are left holding on for dear life in a tightening playoff race.

James Harden had 34 points and 12 assists and helped the Rockets fend off a fourth-quarter rally and beat the Timberwolves 129-120 on Sunday night. The win was Houston's 26th in 28 games, and it dropped Minnesota into the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Houston led by as many as 25 before the Wolves, who started the day in a three-way tie for the West's fifth spot, pulled within five in the fourth. Harden had 11...