Rockets beat Timberwolves 121-102 in season finale
MINNEAPOLIS — Chase Budinger scored a career-high 35 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Houston Rockets to a 121-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in the season finale for both teams.
Michael Beasley scored 34 points and Anthony Randolph had 23 for the Timberwolves (17-65), who lost their last 15 games of the season to finish with the worst record in the NBA.
Houston's Goran Dragic chipped in 11 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for the first triple-double of his career. Courtney Lee added 22 points and the Rockets shot 50 percent for the game.
Now both teams enter an offseason of uncertainty with both coaches' job status in question.
The Rockets led by 21 points early in the third quarter, but the Wolves closed it on a 25-6 run to pull to 90-89 heading into the final period of the season.
The Rockets (43-39) played without point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed the game with a sore left foot, but finished the season with one more victory than last season.
Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love watched from the bench for the sixth straight game because of a groin injury, a disappointing end to a year in which he won the rebound title with 15.2 per game.
Beasley was electric on offense, topping 30 points for the first time since Jan. 26 against Oklahoma City. He shot 13 of 27 and scored every way possible.
But like he has done all season, he struggled defend the opposing small forward, leaving Budinger open on the perimeter time and time again. Budinger's jumper from the top of the key gave the Rockets a 107-100 lead with less than five minutes to play, and the Wolves faded from there.
Now coach Kurt Rambis heads into the offseason unsure of whether he will be back for a third season. Rambis has two years left on his deal, but team president David Kahn declined to comment on his job security at a press conference earlier in the day.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman's future is just as cloudy. He has coached the Rockets for the last four seasons, guiding them through a rough period of injuries to Yao Ming, the trade of Tracy McGrady and rebuilding around Martin.
The Rockets won eight of 10 games as March closed to sneak into playoff contention, but they were eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to Sacramento last Friday.
The Rockets will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season after making it five of the previous six seasons. Adelman has coached the team to a winning record five straight seasons in the powerful Western Conference.
"We just have to play this game out and everything will happen after that," Adelman said before the game.
NOTES: Wolves PG Jonny Flynn missed the game due to personal reasons. C Darko Milicic missed it with a sprained left ankle. ... Newly drafted Lynx star Maya Moore watched the game from three rows above halfcourt. ... Hip-hop star P. Diddy attended the game as well.
Budinger 12-21 7-7 35, Patterson 7-13 0-2 14, Hayes 1-4 0-2 2, Dragic 4-8 0-2 11, Martin 6-14 12-13 25, Miller 4-8 2-2 10, Lee 7-15 4-4 22, Hill 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 42-84 25-32 121.
Beasley 13-27 6-6 34, Tolliver 3-7 0-0 6, Pekovic 3-7 4-5 10, Ridnour 3-11 0-0 7, Johnson 4-7 0-0 8, Webster 3-10 5-7 11, Randolph 11-17 1-1 23, Hayward 1-4 0-2 3, Ellington 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 41-92 16-21 102.
3-Point Goals_Houston 12-31 (Lee 4-7, Budinger 4-8, Dragic 3-6, Martin 1-6, Hayes 0-1, Miller 0-3), Minnesota 4-13 (Beasley 2-6, Ridnour 1-2, Hayward 1-2, Tolliver 0-1, Webster 0-2). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Houston 56 (Dragic 11), Minnesota 49 (Tolliver 13). Assists_Houston 32 (Dragic 11), Minnesota 20 (Ridnour 11). Total Fouls_Houston 18, Minnesota 22. A_17,101 (19,356).