Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

A bad pass by Chris Paul gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie it with 1.5 seconds left, but Jimmy Butler's shot was short.

James Harden delivered a virtuoso performance, aided significantly by a Clint Capela double-double, and the Houston Rockets survived Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series, earning a 104-101 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

The Rockets possess a bevy of players with long playoff resumes, while two of the Wolves' best players in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will experience the playoffs for the very first time.

Throughout the game, the Wolves challenged Houston's shooters, who led the National Basketball Association in three-point attempts and makes per game. Harden, who also had a steal in that span, capped the run with a 3-pointer that prompted Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau to call a timeout. Jeff Teague added 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The first game tips off at 8 PM from Houston tomorrow night. Harden hit seven of his 12 attempts, while everybody else combined to shoot 3-of-25 from deep. The Rockets' young big man tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds over the first 24 minutes.

The Minnesota Timberwolves played about as well defensively as they could have hoped in Game 1 against the Houston Rockets and it still wasn't enough. His teams were bounced in the first round five times, and the other four they lost in the second round.

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Instead, the Rockets went on a run.

That all added up to the Wolves holding a one-point advantage with just more than six minutes to play.

The fourth quarter belonged to Harden.

Minnesota, dominated by the Rockets during the four-game regular season series, led 86-85 on two free throws from Jamal Crawford (15 points) with 6:49 remaining.

The Rockets led 54-47 at halftime. At no point did Butler take over the game, finishing with 13 points.

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