ibusinesslines.com July 23, 2018

Timberwolves miss an opportunity in Game 1 loss to Houston

16 April 2018, 02:57 | Erica Roy

NBA Playoffs 2018: James Harden erupts for 44 points in Rockets win over Timberwolves

James Harden

He's no Harden or Paul, but Mbah a Moute played a strong supporting role in all four Rockets wins over the Wolves this year. Their other meeting came in Minnesota's first trip in 1997, when the Timberwolves were swept in three games. Led by Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, this isn't exactly an easy draw for the Rockets.

The actual points-per-game comparison is moot because Capela is not asked to be a major scoring option in this offense and that he only needs to nail open shots and, of course, accurately throw down the plethora of lobs that are thrown to him.

Houston fell to Sacramento in a game that meant nothing to either side as the Kings were headed to the lottery while the Rockets had long locked up the top seed in the playoffs and home court advantage throughout. The Rockets shot 37.8 percent from the field and hit 13 of 46 three point attempts.

The Wolves didn't get enough from their big guns to contend with a team that possesses the firepower Houston has.

Apart from the two point guards, they have center Clint Capela, who had the best field goal percentage in the regular season, while also nearly averaging at least two blocks per game.

Houston, led by James Harden (the likely MVP) and Chris Paul, have been a blast to watch on the offensive end of the ball.

In order for the Rockets to win, they'll have to be focused.

Rose, who scored 16 points, looked like Minnesota's best player for much of the night. The Houston Rockets are allowing 35.1 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.5 rebounds per game. Houston is 1 in the league with 15.3 threes a night while the team is tied for 13 by shooting 36.2 percent from long range this season.

A testament to just how dominant they were this season can be seen by the fact that they obliterated the National Basketball Association record for most threes in a season. Despite losing to the Rockets in all four games this season, Jimmy Butler only played in one of the games from start to finish. There's not a lot of reliable depth for Minnesota. If they can't, their return to the postseason will be short-lived. The Rockets averaged 50.1% shooting from the floor in the four games. He dislocated his shoulder in the second-to-last game of the regular season. The teams have gone over the total in 14 of their last 17 meetings overall and in seven of their last nine in Houston. I think we're going to do fine.

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