Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

James Harden

Rockets to face Timberwolves in first round of playoffs

Corrects to 2004 in seventh paragraph.

Harden finished with 44 points and eight assists, carrying the Rockets to a 1-0 series lead. After a Chris Paul turnover, Jimmy Butler had a chance to tie it up with 1.5 second left, but his attempt was off. Minnesota got monster minutes from Derrick Rose.

Minnesota is a team on the rise in the West - Karl-Anthony Towns is a stud.

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That's when Harden, who had seven points and three assists in the first quarter, came alive. Their "reward" was a date with the top-seeded Rockets. 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.

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. Tucker made a 3 for the Rockets after that, but Minnesota used a 6-1 spurt, with 3s from Wiggins and Teague, to go back on top 62-58.

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

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The Timberwolves come into this game 8 in scoring with 109.5 points a game. Harden flexed each bicep twice while peering down at the muscles after the shot before making the free throw. James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson and Nene Hilario all did not play in the game: Gerald Green led the team with 31 points in the loss.

The Rockets led 54-47 at halftime.

The Minnesota Timberwolves look to build on their momentum after winning five of their last seven games to clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday.

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Houston hit over 1200 3-pointers this year, ranking them number one in the Association. Minnesota is 24 in rebounding with 42 boards a night and 18 in assists by dishing out 22.7 dimes per contest. While the Game 1 loss was far more competitive than any of the team's four regular season meetings - which Houston swept convincingly - Sunday was an opportunity missed for Minnesota. Coach Mike D'Antoni said there was a chance he could return for Game 2, but that he would know more in the next couple of days.

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