Scouting Report: Wolves (34-32) at Rockets (45-22) | March 20, 2014
Timberwolves at Rockets | 7:00 PM — Toyota Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
After an exhilarating win over the Dallas Mavericks last night, the Wolves have another battle tonight as they face the West’s fourth best team.
The Rockets have emerged as a title contender with James Harden and Dwight Howard leading the way. In both games against the Rockets this season, the Wolves have played well, but let things fall apart near the end.
Minnesota is still fighting for that eighth seed in the West, sitting 5 ½ games back from the Mavericks for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
The Wolves are 0-2 against the Rockets this season with the last game coming on Feb. 10 at the Target Center. Houston won 107-89 behind 18 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks from Dwight Howard. All five starters hit double-digits for Houston. Chandler Parsons led the way with 20, while James Harden had 19. Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley had 14 each. The Rockets shot 11-of-27 from behind the 3-point line.
Minnesota shot just 31-of-87 (35.6 percent) from the field. Kevin Love had a game-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds. Chase Budinger had 15 points and seven boards. Alexey Shved led the bench with 11 points, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 10 in nearly 29 minutes of play.
Since that game, though, the Wolves are 10-4, fourth best in the league since Feb. 10. The Rockets are 10-5.
March 20, 2014
The Wolves are coming off of a 123-122 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks to improve to 34-32 overall. Ricky Rubio led the way with a triple-double. The Spanish sensation scored 22 points to go with 15 assists, 10 rebounds and four steals. Love added 35 points, including a huge overtime. Martin scored 19 points, while J.J. Barea led the second unit with 15. Gorgui Dieng, in his second career start, had another double-double, scoring 10 points to go with 11 boards.
Minnesota is 3-2 in its last five games overall, and 5-2 in their last seven road games.
The Rockets are coming off of a 124-86 home win against the Utah Jazz. Former Wildcat Terrence Jones had 30 points, while shooting 11-of-15 from the field. Patrick Beverley added 19, while Jeremy Lin led the bench with 17. Jordan Hamilton and James Harden had 15 each, while Omer Ask (starting for Dwight Howard) had 12 points and 11 boards. The team shot an impressive 46-of-79 from the field and 13-of-25 from the 3-point line.
Houston is 2-3 in its last five games.
What To Watch: Kevin Martin vs. James Harden
When it comes to Houston shooting guards, these are two of the best over the last decade. Let’s not forget Tracy McGrady either.
In a league in which the shooting guard position is slowly fading away, these two are two of the best when it comes to scoring the ball. Harden is averaging 24.6 points per game this season, while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and a career-best 85.5 percent from the free-throw line. In two games against Minnesota this season the Wolves have held the former Arizona State guard in check. Harden is averaging 19 points, five rebounds and five assists against Minnesota.
Martin is averaging 19.5 points per game this season, his most since the 2010-11 season when he averaged 23.5 points per game. He’s shooting 38.7 percent from the 3-point line and 89.4 percent rom the free-throw line. Martin has played in just one of two games against Houston this season. In that game, he scored 19 points and hauled in three rebounds.
Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic (right ankle bursitis) is day-to-day. Fellow center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) and point guard A.J. Price (appendectomy) are out indefinitely.
Houston forward Omri Casspi (illness) is questionable for Thursday’s game, as is All-Star center Dwight Howard (strained left ankle). Forward Greg Smith (arthroscopic right knee surgery) is out for the season.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Patrick Beverley|
|SG||Kevin Martin||James Harden|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Chandler Parsons|
|PF||Kevin Love||Terrence Jones|
|C||Gorgui Dieng||Omer Asik|