Timberwolves rookie center Gorgui Dieng hit a game-winning jumper to lift Minnesota to a 112-110 home victory over Houston on Friday.
The headlines went to Corey Brewer for his improbable 51-point scoring explosion, but Dieng sealed up the victory on an exciting final possession for Minnesota.
With less than 15 seconds remaining and the score tied at 110, Ricky Rubio brought the ball up the court and initiated a high pick-and-roll with Dieng. Attacking off the dribble to his right, Rubio drew two defenders before flipping a lob pass to Dieng, who was open in the middle of the paint.
Dieng had to tap the ball twice to collect it, and Jeremy Lin did well to recover towards him and get a hand up in the rookie's face. The clock was under six seconds by this point, and Dieng, a 6-foot-11 Senegalese big man who went to Louisville, decided to put up a fall-away jumper. His quick-flip try swished through with just 4.6 seconds left, giving Minnesota a two-point lead.
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Harden fell to the floor as he ran up the court in hopes of attempting a game-tying or game-winning shot, and the clock ran out before he could pull himself together, delivering the victory to the Timberwolves.
Dieng, the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for March, finished with 12 points (on 6-for-13 shooting), 20 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Brewer tallied an astonishing 51 points (on 19-for-30 shooting), two rebounds, one assist, six steals and one block in the win.
Harden led the Rockets with 33 points (on 7-for-14 shooting), 10 assists, eight rebounds and six steals. Chandler Parsons added 27 points (on 11-for-19 shooting), seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals in a losing effort.
Minnesota improved to 40-39 with the win. Houston dropped to 52-27 with the loss.