Houston Rockets' James Harden, right, and Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson chase a loose ball during the first half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Monday, April 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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James Harden scored 36 points as the Houston Rockets moved to the brink of a Western Conference first round playoff series victory with a 119-100 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday. Harden underscored his status as front-runner for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award after leading a stunning third quarter performance that saw the Rockets explode for an astonishing 50 points.That devastating burst of scoring – a franchise record – included 22 points from Harden as the Rockets transformed what had been a one-point contest at halftime into a comfortable victory.Point guard Chris Paul weighed in with 25 points – including 15 in the lopsided third quarter – while Eric Gordon had 18 and Trevor Ariza 15 .George led the scoring for Oklahoma City with 32 points while Westbrook had 23 points and 14 rebounds.
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