The Houston Rockets entered the NBA Playoffs as the favorite amongst many to walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy. They proved exactly why on Wednesday night with a dominating performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and broke a Los Angeles Lakers record in the process.
Houston defeated the Timberwolves, 119-100, to take a 3-1 series lead, but the big story was what the Rockets pulled off in the third quarter. In scoring 50 points in the third quarter the Rockets not only pushed the game well out of reach, they also set a new NBA playoff record for points in a third quarter.
That was previously held by the 1987 Lakers who scored 49 points in the third quarter of Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers were actually down seven points at the half before outscoring the Warriors 49-23 in the third and ultimately winning 125-116.
On that night it was Magic Johnson leading the way, posting a triple-double and finishing with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. James Worthy led the Lakers scoring wise with 28 points to go along with seven rebounds while Byron Scott and Michael Cooper each added 17 points as seven players scored in double-figures.
The Rockets’ own dynamic guard, James Harden, was their catalyst much like Magic was for the Lakers. He finished with 36 points, 22 of which came in that third quarter. Chris Paul also added 15 in the quarter in which the Rockets shot 60.8 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from three-point range.
The Rockets’ mark was also the second-largest scoring quarter in NBA playoff history, and once again the Lakers own that mark as well.
In 1962, the Lakers, led by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, scored 51 points in the fourth quarter in Game 5 of their Western Division Final against the Detroit Pistons.
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