The Minnesota Timberwolves were playing with half the team hurt, so the Rockets — in a remarkably sportsmanlike gesture — played for only one half.

That was enough. After a first half spent testing the limits of coach Kevin McHale’s patience and voice, they did the things they knew they should have from the start.

James Harden carried the offense. Jeremy Lin cranked up his defense. The Rockets treated the ball as if it was something of value. Before another night against another last-place team had gone from another cautionary tale to another debilitating loss, the Rockets rallied from a 20-point deficit to knock off half the Timberwolves 108-100 on Friday for the biggest comeback at Toyota Center.

They struggled to consider it much of an accomplishment.

“That was terrible,” Chandler Parsons said. “That’s not the way we play. That’s not the way we’re coached. We can’t get down like that to many teams and be able to fight back. It’s going to be pretty hard.”

The comeback was the Rockets’ 11th from a double-digit deficit this season, their ninth in franchise history from down at least 20. But with the Timberwolves’ starting frontcourt — Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic — among the six Minnesota players out, the Rockets believed they never should have needed their biggest comeback since the 2001-02 season.