The Timberwolves next goal, after they completed their previous goal of making the playoffs, is to advance the the next round of playoff basketball. A more realistic expectation would be to try to steal at least one game off of the highest powered offense in the NBA. Nonetheless, the Wolves gave the Rockets a true fight in last night’s matchup.
In the first quarter it appeared as though the Rockets would handle the Wolves swiftly and easily. They jumped out to an 11 point lead early in the first and didn’t look back. The Wolves however managed to keep things within striking distance with the help of Andrew Wiggins, who started 4 for 5 shooting.
In the second, James Harden and co. pushed their lead to seven but it could have been much worse for the Timberwolves. Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Chris Paul all missed shots that they typically make. For the game they were a combined 9 of 30 shooting in tonights contest. Something that we cannot expect from them going forward in the series.
Playoff Derrick Rose is apparently a thing. He had had 16 points which was a new high for scoring when wearing a Wolves uniform. He helped his team cut the deficit to four heading into the fourth quarter. The Rockets still struggled from deep in the second half, they went a 10 for 37 as a team from downtown.
We all know who this years MVP winner will be and tonight, his incredible skillset was on full power in front of the Houston crowd. James Harden could not miss in the 4th quarter. Jimmy Butler, who is regarded as one of the best 2 way players in the NBA, had no answers to slow him down. Whether Harden drove to the basket or performed his deadly step back, the ball was finding the bottom of the net. He led the way, finishing with a team high, 44 points on 15 of 26 shooting.
The Rockets won this one because James Harden wouldn’t have it any other way. The game finished 104 to 101, Houston on top. The next game is this Wednesday in Houston again. The Timberwolves will need to take advantage if the Rockets are having another off night. Otherwise, this could be a sweep, a very demoralizing sweep.
- Towns had a bad night overall. He finished with 8 points on 3 of 9 shooting.
- Butler played as well as he could on defense but offensively we are going to need more from him.
- Derrick Rose was a much needed spark to our porous bench unit.
- Stopping Capela on the fast break will need to happen if the Wolves want any chance at this series.
- Wiggins had a nice overall night. 18 points and 6 rebounds.
- Taj Gibson was the only starter to shoot over 50%.
- Bjelica needs more minutes. He played 6 last night.
- The Timberwolves finished with 1 point from 11 Rockets turnovers.
photo credit – houstontoyotacenter.com