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Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

16 April, 2018, 13:45 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
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Houston kept All-Star big man Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points after he'd averaged 21.3 in leading the Wolves to their first playoff appearance since 2004.

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.

The Rockets were dominant in the regular season and won a franchise-high 65 games to finish top of the pile in the Western Conference.

Jimmy Butler had no interest in divulging any information regarding the wrap he had on his wrist prior to Game 1 of the playoffs on Sunday. Saunders passed two days before the start of the National Basketball Association season, before he had a chance to see the number one overall pick who'd become part of his family play a game in Minnesota.

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Anderson sprained his ankle on April 3 and it sidelined him for the final four games of the regular season. Led by Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, this isn't exactly an easy draw for the Rockets.

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.

There's really no "key to the game" against a team like the Rockets. Minnesota must play tight defense and hope that the Rockets go cold from the three-point line, while they need to shoot well from 3-point range themselves. Also, combine the Timberwolves road scoring with the Rockets home scoring and you get 222 points per game. Minnesota fans can point to the fact that Butler was injured in one of the matchups and missed another but the fact remains that the Rockets are prolific from the perimeter and they have a ton of depth.

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. Can Minnesota find secondary scoring and slow Houston's perimeter barrage? The Houston Rockets are allowing 35.1 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.5 rebounds per game. The teams have gone over the total in 14 of their last 17 meetings overall and in seven of their last nine in Houston.

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