Timberwolves miss an opportunity in Game 1 loss to Houston

Carrie Guzman
April 16, 2018

Every time the Rockets pulled away, the Timberwolves found a way back into the game, getting to within three points in crunch time.

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.

Timberwolves, on the other hand, will be aware of their underdog status when the best of seven-series games gets underway Sunday.

James Harden had himself a game in Houston, piling on 44 points to lead the Rockets to a 104-101 Game 1 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston Rockets added Chris Paul at the start of the season and ended with a franchise-best tally of 65 wins and home court advantage for the playoffs.

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

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That's when Harden, who had seven points and three assists in the first quarter, came alive.

Minnesota won their final three games of the season to make the playoffs, capped by the victor moves on, loser goes home contest with the Nuggets.

Then Khris Middleton forced overtime with an absurd 3-pointer at the buzzer that barely got off his fingertips in time.

Jeff Teague ended Minnesota's scoring drought with two free throws after the timeout and added a 3-point play after a basket by Harden. Their "reward" was a date with the top-seeded 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. Eric Gordon (ankle) is probable. Houston is 1 in the league with 15.3 threes a night while the team is tied for 13 by shooting 36.2 percent from long range this season.

The Wolves didn't get enough from their big guns to contend with a team that possesses the firepower Houston has.

Apart from being at their best offensively, they will have to devise a plan to hold down Harden, who is key for the Rockets' offense.

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