3. Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets – January 13, 2010
The most recent triple-overtime game in Rockets history followed a similar script to the first two. Houston was five games above .500 with a 22-17 record while the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves were a lowly 8-32.
Playing without Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets still seemed to be on course to cruise to an easy home victory when they took a 30-13 lead into the second quarter. A balanced Minnesota attack led by Al Jefferson, however, helped them storm back to within three points with 32 seconds left after a Corey Brewer layup.
Carl Landry ended up having an opportunity to seal the game at the line with 2.4 seconds remaining but missed one of two, keeping the Rockets’ lead at 89-86. With no timeouts left, the Timberwolves gave the ball to Brewer beyond halfcourt, who had no choice but to heave up a desperate 50-footer — that found nothing but the bottom of the net.
After the improbable shot forced overtime, Aaron Brooks and Trevor Ariza came up big for the Rockets, but as he did all game long, Al Jefferson was keeping the Timberwolves in it. Finally, Minnesota seemed to run out of gas in the third overtime period as the Rockets outscored them 15-9 for a 120-114 victory.
Aaron Brooks ended the game with a career-high 43 points for Houston while Al Jefferson had 26 points and a career-high 26 rebounds for Minnesota.
If there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that if you push the Rockets to a third overtime, they’ve got you right where they want you.