Game 1 Scouting Report | Wolves at Rockets
Western Conference Playoffs, First Round
Wolves at Rockets, 8 p.m.
Fox Sports North, TNT, 830 WCCO
Here we go.
For the first time since 2004, the Wolves are in the playoffs.
At the No. 8 seed, they’ll get the No. 1 seeded Houston Rockets in the first round. The Rockets finished with a league-best record of 65-17.
This is a new season, though. Anything can happen, especially for a Wolves team that has as much talent as it does. Led by Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, this isn’t exactly an easy draw for the Rockets. Then again, this wasn’t a normal season in the West with the Wolves winning 47 games at that spot. Last season, the Wolves would have been tied for the sixth spot with 47 wins. Two years ago, it would have been the five seed.
“At the end of the day we don’t need anyone to tell us their opinions of how the series will go. We have confidence and we talk to each other, so that’s all we need is confidence in each other at this point.” - KAT » https://t.co/GN3PXEKcx9 pic.twitter.com/rllsJbw5Fg
— x - Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 14, 2018
Houston, led by James Harden (the likely MVP) and Chris Paul, have been a blast to watch on the offensive end of the ball. They rank first in offensive rating, but don’t sleep on Houston’s defense with Clint Capela down low. The Rockets are sixth in defensive rating.
There’s really no “key to the game” against a team like the Rockets. Score more points than them, sure, that’s it. But you need to limit the damage Houston does from the 3-point line, and offensively, the Wolves should be fine. They ranked fourth in the NBA in offensive rating.
Ryan Anderson, who averaged 12 points and shot 50 percent from the 3-point line in four games against the Wolves, is likely out with an ankle injury.
This is the final game of a busy weekend of playoff basketball. A reminder that Dave Benz and Jim Petersen will have the call on Fox Sports North.
Rockets: Anderson (ankle) is doubtful. Eric Gordon (ankle) is probable. Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) is out.
Wolves: Gibson (neck) is probable.
Rockets: PG – Paul, SG - Harden, SF - Ariza, PF - Tucker, C - Capela
Wolves: PG – Teague, SG – Butler, SF – Wiggins, PF – Gibson, C – Towns