HOUSTON, Texas. – James Harden scored 44 points and led his team in a great last quarter that allowed the Houston Rockets to overcome 104-101 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Rockets, who finished first in the Western Conference, had to work hard to beat the Timberwolves (8th) on a night when Houston scored just 10 of their 37 triple times. Harden had 7 of 12 in three-point baskets, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to score just 3 of their 22 opportunities. Minnesota scored four consecutive goals to get close to three with 30 seconds remaining for the final buzzer. Then, Chris Paul converted two free throws for Houston, but a basket by Karl-Anthony Towns put the Timberwolves back to three. A poor pass from Paul gave Minnesota the chance to equalize the scoreboard with 1.5 seconds remaining, but Jimmy Butler’s pitch fell short. The Timberwolves had an advantage of one point seven minutes from the end before the reaction of the Rockets with a partial 9-0, with the last seven goals from Harden, to leave the board 94-86 with four minutes remaining. Harden, who also stole a ball in that period, crowned the comeback of his team with a triple that led the Minnesota coach, Tom Thibodeau, to call a timeout. Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 18 points and Towns could not get past the eight after averaging 21.3 in the regular season, in Minnesota’s first participation in the postseason since 2014.