Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

PBT Extra Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

PBT Extra Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

With AP Photos.James Harden scored 44 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series. It worked - for the first time since 2004 the Timberwolves are in the postseason. They have two All-Stars in the team - Karl-Anthony Towns and the returning Jimmy Butler. The Houston Rockets have lost just two home games since Christmas. They will also have the fit-again Jimmy Butler and a largely injury-free roster that will look to take the National Basketball Association playoffs 2018 by storm.

While Minnesota possesses more talent than the average 8-seed, beating the Rockets four times in seven games is almost impossible, especially when considering they lost only three games with James Harden, Clint Capela and Paul in the lineup during the regular season.

The Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets in the final regular season game for both teams last week to lock up the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Also, combine the Timberwolves road scoring with the Rockets home scoring and you get 222 points per game.

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In the last regular season meeting between the two teams in March, Gerald Green was ejected in the fourth quarter for coming to Chris Paul's defense after Minnesota's Gorgui Dieng pushed Paul down after a foul.

Jeff Teague flirted with a triple-double (15 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) while Derrick Rose added 16 points off the bench for Minnesota. Minnesota is 24 in rebounding with 42 boards a night and 18 in assists by dishing out 22.7 dimes per contest. In this picture, Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., December 29, 2017. Butler suffered a torn meniscus against the Rockets February 23: he underwent surgery on the 25 and returned April 6 against the Lakers. After a bad pass by Paul gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie it with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler's shot was short. Eric Gordon (ankle) is probable. That Wolves team got swept, and many outside of the Twin Cities expect that again this time around.

If Houston gets hot from downtown, it's game over for the T-Wolves.

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