Sports

How do Rockets match up against Timberwolves?

How do Rockets match up against Timberwolves?

They didn't get it. Minnesota, a heavy first-round underdog, failed to take advantage of an off-night from the best team in basketball, falling 104-101 to dig an 0-1 hole in the franchise's first playoff game since 2004.

Game 1 is set for 8 p.m. Sunday in Houston and can be heard on WCCO Radio 830 AM. It's impossible to stop their offense entirely but the Minnesota bigs are going to have to at least consistently apply pressure, get hands in shooters' faces, and not give them the easy looks. Houston, the deadliest 3-point shooting team in the game, went just 10 for 37 from deep.

James Harden, a favorite to win the MVP this season, leads the Rockets lineup.

The likely 2017-18 Most Valuable Player torched Minnesota down the stretch.

The Timberwolves had a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Houston used a 9-0 run, with the last seven points from Harden, to make it 94-86 with about four minutes to go.

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This isn't going to be a list of reasons why the Timerbwolves are going to knock off Houston in the first round because we can't, in good conscience, tell you that's going to happen.

Timberwolves: Butler, who led the team by averaging 22.2 points in the regular season, finished with 13 points. The Rockets' young big man tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds over the first 24 minutes.

Karl-Anthony Towns has the potential to rack up as many boards as he wants in a game, Jimmy Butler is built for taking over close games in the playoffs and despite the fact that this is the first time in 13 years that Minnesota has made the playoffs, they have plenty of veteran experience in Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Derrick Rose. Harden took over after that, scoring the last six points of the quarter to leave Houston up 76-72 entering the fourth.

The Wolves are hung tough, and had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but the Rockets escaped with a three-point win. Minnesota's defense has struggled this year, and unless they pick it up, they could be swept by the NBA's most electric offensive team. While his contributions are welcomed by the Wolves, they're not enough.

Rockets: Ryan Anderson missed the game with a sprained left ankle.


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