Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

Ruben Hill
April 16, 2018

Harden finished with 14 points in the final frame and countless highlight plays. In the other three wins, Harden averaged 33.0 points per game.

The Wolves scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 56-54 lead. Slowing down the Rockets fast-paced style will be key, so look for Jeff Teague and the T-Wolves offense to use up a lot of the shot clock. The Rockets are just 13-8 without him (52-9 with him).

Game 2 takes place Wednesday night. All 22 of the experts peg the Rockets to win the series, and a whopping 10 of them think Houston will complete a four-game sweep. 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.

On ESPN's analytical side, Kevin Pelton ranked the eight playoff series by which are most likely to produce an upset.

As I was looking over the potential playoff scenarios this week, I kept looking at the ways the Timberwolves could avoid the Rockets - because that matchup meant the likelihood of a four- or five-game exit for the Wolves. Now their star-studded lineup will face its stiffest challenge yet in having to beat the Rockets four times out of seven.

While the Wolves may feel a desire to reflect on their accomplishment, the real work begins Sunday night, when they head south to face the team with the best record in the National Basketball Association, the Houston Rockets. Unusual stat: Three of the wins were by exactly 18 points. For reference, that mark is well behind the Magic, which was last in the league at.756 percent. Over the next two quarters, they outscored the high-powered Rockets, who led the National Basketball Association in point differential, by two points.

For the Wolves to win this series, the defense suddenly has to transform into a top-five unit and the leaky rebounding has to stop.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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