- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Keeping things simple is working just fine for the Houston Rockets.

Dwight Howard had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and the surging Rockets used a fourth-quarter push to hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-89 Monday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

Chandler Parsons had 20 points and James Harden scored 19 for the Rockets, who have won six straight for the first time since taking seven in a row in January 2012. All five starters scored in double figures for Houston, which has won nine of 11 and 14 of 18.

“It’s just not trying to make the spectacular play, giving up good shots for great shots, not forcing anything. That’s what we’ve been doing really good lately and it’s a lot more fun to play that way,” Parsons said. “We have so many talented guys, we can be so balanced every single night.”

The short-handed Timberwolves do not have that luxury right now.

Back after missing one game with a bruised left quadriceps, Kevin Love led Minnesota with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Chase Budinger had 15 points as a fill-in starter and Alexey Shved scored 11 off the bench for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight and six of seven.

Ricky Rubio, who had three straight games in double figures, including a career-best 25 points on Saturday, was 2 of 10 for seven points.

Love’s strong game - including a career-best 23 first-half points - was needed because Minnesota played without starting guard Kevin Martin (broken thumb) and center Nikola Pekovic (right ankle bursitis).

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman also was absent due to personal reasons. He is expected back Wednesday.

Assistant coach Terry Porter filled in for Adelman, but was left scratching his head.

“Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t make shots,” Porter said. “Guys that normally make shots struggled. We had good looks, but just couldn’t knock them down. On those misses, they ran out, got some easy baskets and extended the lead.”

After its 15-point lead had dwindled to four, Houston scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to push its cushion to 93-78. Parsons had a pair of fast-break layups and a dunk to spark the run.

This time, the Rockets did not let Minnesota counter with a run, outscoring the Timberwolves 25-11 in the quarter - Minnesota’s lowest-scoring period of the year.

“It’s almost been like that three games in a row where we’ve been in pretty good position, either ahead or right within striking distance,” Love said. “Then in those first few minutes the other team just gets off to a better start than you do and pushes the lead up. We just need to be better in the fourth quarter.”

Howard said the key surge came about because the Rockets slowed things down.

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