The drought is over for the Minnesota Timberwolves!
A team looking to make an impact takes on the conference's top squad in a first-round Western Conference playoff matchup in the Lone Star State. Houston won the lone playoff series between the teams, taking a 3-0 series win over Minnesota in the first round of the 1997 National Basketball Association playoffs. A lineup featuring Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns won't match up well. They may get punched in the mouth (so to speak) but it may make the team better going forward.
"So how I celebrate is I enjoy every freaking day I go into the locker room with these guys and go on the court and all the games we've won and all the trips we've made back from games on the road back [as] winners, that's what's enjoyable", he said. Oddmakers love to throw out big numbers with the Rockets, but Houston is an ugly 9-17 ATS this season as a double-digit favorite. In their four matchups, the Rockets made 69 3-pointers, and the Timberwolves made just 34.
In their last five games, Minnesota is 4-1 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has said Rose gives Minnesota one of its few perimeter defenders, and this series - with Houston boasting Harden, Chris Paul and a slew of outside shooters - demands them.
"Going into the playoffs, the number one seed, I think as we continue to build, it's going to be even better", said Rojas of merchandise sales. This is definitely the case when you see what happens when teams allow their center to switch onto Harden.
Offensive efficiency will be the mantra for the Timberwolves as they look to upset the Rockets.
On Sunday they will play their first game of the playoffs against a Timberwolves side which crept into the post-season by the skin of their teeth. And for added measure, center Clint Capela paced the league in field goal percentage (65.2), gorging on a healthy portion of lobs courtesy of the penetration Harden and Paul created by opponents scrambling to defend the 3-point arc.
Anderson has been sidelined since initially injuring his ankle back on April 3rd, which cost him the final four games of the regular season. The Rockets are well aware of their potency, and the potential to inflect damage by doing what they usually do.
"Nothing went well", Harden explained. "Staying together, having that positive mindset".
You can't mention Wiggins' strong late-game play without mentioning Taj Gibson's.