Friday, 22 February, 2019


NBA Playoffs Preview: Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves, SWOT Analysis & Prediction

James Harden NBA Playoffs Preview: Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves, SWOT Analysis & Prediction
Noah Ferguson | 16 April, 2018, 14:14

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.

In an odd bit of symmetry, the Wolves make their return to the postseason against the first team they ever played in the playoffs way back in 1997, the Houston Rockets. While it's fair to say that the Rockets had most teams' numbers this season, the fact remains that it's hard to argue with a sweep. Not only are they one of only two teams to make over 1,000 threes this season but they have made nearly twice as many threes per game as the Timberwolves have. The big man was a force on both ends, holding Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns to just eight points. James Harden is averaging 30.4 points and 8.8 assists while Chris Paul is averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 assists.

The Timberwolves come into this game 8 in scoring with 109.5 points a game.

Houston will be without Luc Mbah a Moute, who dislocated his shoulder and is set to miss the entire first round.

Timberwolves will have to go on the offensive right from the start to have a chance of beating the Rockets. 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. That combination easily downs what the Timberwolves bring to the table: throw in the experience factor along with home court and Houston takes Game 1 with ease. Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford have played in a combined 234 playoff games.

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. The Minnesota Timberwolves have split their last 10 road games. The Timberwolves are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Houston, 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings and the over is 14-3 in the last 17 meetings. Given the way the regular season meetings went, there's little reason to think the Timberwolves can slow Houston's attack: look for the over to come up here.

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