Scouting Report: Wolves (24-27) vs. Rockets (34-17) | Feb. 10, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Rockets | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North/NBATV
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
When looking at Houston’s roster, you’d think the Rockets would be at the top of the Western Conference. James Harden. Dwight Howard. Chandler Parsons. Jeremy Lin. Instead, the Rockets sit in fifth place in the West with a 34-17 record. That’s nothing to scoff at, though, being how tough the West has been this season. The Rockets are sixth games out of first place.
The Wolves could possibly be without their top three scorers. Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic will be out, while Kevin Love is questionable. Fans saw how gritty the Wolves were on Saturday without the “Big 3,” but having Love on the court will help the team out immensely.
It’s probably best if the Wolves don’t look at the eighth seed as a bench mark, as the team is six games back, but instead to get back to .500. The Wolves go into this game with a 24-27 record.
The Wolves are 0-1 against the Rockets this season. The two last played back on Nov. 23 in Houston, with the Rockets coming away with a 112-101 win.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Corey Brewer added 22 while shooting 8-of-14 from the field. Kevin Martin scored 16, nine coming from the 3-point line. Nikola Pekovic scored 14. Minnesota shot 40 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from the 3-point line.
All five starters for the Rockets hit double-digits, but Aaron Brooks, who had a team-high 26 points coming off the bench, led them. Jeremy Lin led all starters with 19 points. Terrence Jones added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Patrick Beverley and Chandler Parsons had 17 and 14 points, respectively. The Wolves limited Dwight Howard to just 11 points. Houston shot 51.9 percent from the field and 54.8 percent from the 3-point line.
Feb. 10, 2014
Minnesota is coming off of a tough 117-110 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday Despite being shorthanded, the Wolves managed to stay in the game for the majority of it.
Ricky Rubio led Minnesota with a career-high 25 points, nine rebounds and a steal. Brewer put up 23 points while shooting 11-of-23 from the field. Chase Budinger, in his first start of the season, had a season-high 19 points. Dante Cunningham had his first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. Rookie Shabazz Muhammad led the second unit with 12 points.
The Wolves are 1-4 in their last five games.
Houston is riding a five-game winning streak, with the last win coming on Saturday at Milwaukee. The Rockets beat the Bucks 101-95 behind 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists from Howard. James Harden added 22 points, but was just 1-of-9 from the 3-point line. Lin led the second unit with 18 points, while Patrick Beverley added 15. The Rockets were outrebounded 47-38.
What To Watch: Chase Budinger vs. James Harden
The extra minutes Budinger got on Saturday night were taken advantage of as the former Rocket put up a season-high 18 points in the first start of the season. With Martin out, Budinger will likely get the nod again, and for good reason. Budinger also had a team-high +/- mark of +18. Budinger is shooting 35.7 percent from the 3-point line, and for the Wolves to have a chance in this one, they’ll need Budinger to connect on a few from long distance.
Harden has continued to show that he’s one of the best guards in the NBA, and that led to him being named an All-Star reserve this season. Harden is averaging 23 points per game this season and 5.3 assists per game. Harden is struggling behind the 3-point line, though, shooting a career-low 32.1 percent from deep.
The injury bug has been busy in Minnesota. The Wolves will be without Nikola Pekovic (right ankle bursitis) and Kevin Martin (fractured left thumb) indefinitely. Kevin Love (bruised left quadriceps) is questionable.
For Houston, small forward Francisco Garcia (left knee tendinitis) is questionable. Center Greg Smith (sore right knee) is also questionable.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Patrick Beverley|
|SG||Chase Budinger||James Harden|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Chandler Parsons|
|PF||Kevin Love*||Terrence Jones|
|C||Ronny Turiaf||Dwight Howard|
*- Listed as questionable tonight