A team looking to make an impact takes on the conference's top squad in a first-round Western Conference playoff matchup in the Lone Star State. The Houston Rockets have lost just two home games since Christmas. In the extra session, the Timberwolves outscored the Nuggets 11-5 to earn the win. Lastly, the Rockets escaped with a three-point win over the Timberwolves.
Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 21.3 points per contest this season while collecting an average of 12.3 boards per game.
The Timberwolves come into this game 8 in scoring with 109.5 points a game. Russell Westbrook added 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. The Timberwolves are tied for 4 in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 47.6 percent from the floor. In the other three wins, Harden averaged 33.0 points per game. The Rockets finished the regular season with a 65-17 record. Game 1 in Boston was an overtime thriller, with the Celtics squeaking out a win over the Bucks. The Rockets shot 37.8 percent from the field and hit 13 of 46 three point attempts. James Harden is averaging 30.4 points and 8.8 assists while Chris Paul is averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 assists.
James Harden led the National Basketball Association this year in scoring with an impressive 30.8 points per game, while Center Clint Capela led the league with a 65.2 field goal percentage. Eric Gordon is the third double-digit scorer and Clint Capela is grabbing 10.8 rebounds. Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) is expected to miss the first round, so there could be more minutes for the likes of P.J. Tucker, Joe Johnson, and Gerald Green. The Houston Rockets are shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc and 78.1 percent from the free throw line.
Houston had Minnesota's number in the regular season, sweeping all four meetings.
This is Towns' first time playing in the playoffs so he'll have to get used to a more intense game and playing on a bigger stage than he's ever seen. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford have played in a combined 234 playoff games. There's not a lot of reliable depth for Minnesota.
This isn't going to be a list of reasons why the Timerbwolves are going to knock off Houston in the first round because we can't, in good conscience, tell you that's going to happen. If they can't, their return to the postseason will be short-lived.