Scouting Report: Wolves (39-39) vs. Rockets (52-26) | April 11, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Rockets | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Hard to believe that the end of the season is right around the corner. The Wolves aren’t fighting for a playoff spot, but despite being shorthanded, they’ve showed a lot of heart over the last week, coming off big wins over the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
They could continue their streak and attempt to take homecourt away from the Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The Rockets (52-26) sit a game and a half above the Portland Trail Blazers for the fourth seed in the West.
The Wolves (39-39) can still get to a winning record if they can win three of their next four games. That won’t be easy, though, as they play the Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz.
April 11, 2014
The Wolves are 0-3 against the Rockets this season with the last game coming on March 20 in Houston. The Rockets came away with a 129-106 win behind 28 points from James Harden. In fact, seven Houston players reached double-digits in scoring. Donatas Motiejunas led the bench with 20 points. Chandler Parsons led the bench with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Patrick Beverley had 14 points and two steals, while Omer Asik had 12 points and four blocks filling in for Dwight Howard. Jeremy Lin and Terrence Jones finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Kevin Love led the Wolves with 29 points. Gorgui Dieng had a great game, for a rookie nonetheless, finishing with 22 points and 21 rebounds. Chase Budinger and Luc Mbah a Moute led the bench with 11 points each.
This Week’s Results
Minnesota is coming off of a 102-87 home loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. Love led the Wolves with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Rubio added 15 points, while Ronny Turiaf led the second unit with 11 points.
The Wolves are 3-2 in their last five games.
Houston is coming off of a 123-116 road loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, despite having seven players score in double-digits. Lin had a team-high 18 points. Parsons added 16. Asik and Troy Daniels scored 12 points each, while Harden struggled, scoring just 10. Jones, Motiejunas and Jordan Hamilton scored 11 points each.
The Rockets are 3-2 in their last five games.
What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. James Harden
These are two of the most prolific scorers in the league and that’s interesting considering the fact that these two have pretty much grown up together on the basketball court – having played each other at the AAU level, college level and now pro level.
Harden will have the chance to take advantage of the shooting guard position for the Wolves, which isn’t exactly deep right now. The slasher is scoring 25.3 points and 5.9 assists (career-high) per game this season. In three games against Minnesota, Harden is averaging 23.5 points, 6.5 assists and five rebounds per game.
Love has seen his play dip a little bit of late, which is expected considering how many minutes he’s logged already. The All-Star starter is averaging 25.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and a career-high 4.4 assists per game. In three games against Houston, Love is averaging 29 points and 10.3 rebounds.
For Minnesota, Chase Budinger (ankle) and Shabazz Muhammad (knee) are out. Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Kevin Martin (heel) and J.J. Barea (back) are questionable.
Houston guard Patrick Beverley (knee) and center Greg Smith (knee) are both out indefinitely. Center Dwight Howard’s (knee) status is unknown.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Jeremy Lin|
|SG||Corey Brewer||James Harden|
|SF||Robbie Hummel||Chandler Parsons|
|PF||Kevin Love||Terrence Jones|
|C||Gorgui Dieng||Omer Asik|