Towns struggles again as Wolves drop Game 2

Ruben Hill
April 19, 2018

Following a solid overall first quarter that saw Minnesota take a 9-2 lead early and finish the period up by six, the Wolves collapsed in the second quarter, getting outscored 37-17.

Unlike in Game 1, the Houston Rockets did not give the Minnesota Timberwolves any chance in the end game to steal a win, as they thoroughly crushed the Timberwolves on Wednesday, 102-82, to take a 2-0 series lead. Harden, the hero of Game 1 with 44 points, shot just two for 18 from the field. And that's not just reading public comments: "that's a real thing".

Houston's shooting - One of the major reasons the Rockets only got over the line by three points despite a superb performance from Harden was that the rest of their team couldn't hit a long-range shot to save themselves.

Towns is an fantastic scorer near the basket, shooting * a href="https://stats.nba.com/players/shooting/?Season=2017-18&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&sort=Less%20Than%205%20ft.%20FG%20PCT&dir=1&PerMode=Totals&CF=Less%20Than%205%20ft.%20FGA*GE*300" target="_blank" rel="noopener" *68.4 percent within five feet of the rim during the regular season. Through two playoff games, he has just 13 total points. The big man went 10-for-15 from the floor, and all of the 20 points that resulted were inside the paint. The second came on a twirling off-balance layup over Nemanja Bjelica that earned him a standing ovation from the home crowd. Towns went 0-for-4 shooting in the second as the Rockets ran over his club.

- In Sunday's first-round playoff series opener, the Houston Rockets made a mere two more of their beloved three-pointers than the Timberwolves and still walked away three-point winners after a last-second scare. Gerald Green, a mid-season addition by Houston GM Daryl Morey, provided a spark off the bench with 19 points (five threes) and nine rebounds.

Timberwolves: Justin Patton sat out with a sore left foot. Houston themselves turned it over a similar number of times - 11 to be precise - but conceded a solitary point from these turnovers. Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves starters in shots (14) and points (13).

To say Towns has to step up is an understatement, but the all-star remains confident ahead of Game 3 in Minnesota.

Rockets: Ryan Anderson, who returned to practice Tuesday, didn't play after also sitting out in Game 1.

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said he expects Towns to score "a lot more" during their next game. Trevor Ariza had 15 points.

Sequences like those - featuring smart perimeter defending plus a terrific supporting cast around Houston's All-Star backcourt - is what makes these Rockets so so hard to beat.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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