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Game 5 Scouting Report | Wolves at Rockets

by Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate Follow

Western Conference Playoffs, First Round
Game 5

Wolves at Rockets, 8:30 p.m.
Toyota Center
Fox Sports North, TNT, Buz’n 102.9

Wolves fans, this is it. Your team needs to win in order to keep their season alive.

The Wolves have been in this situation before—in the last game of their regular season versus Denver. Faced with pressure then, Minnesota came up big, winning the game and paving the way for their playoff series against the Rockets.

Now it’s win or go home again. Outside of two very bad quarters (the second quarter of Game 2 and the third quarter of Game 4), the Wolves have played Houston fairly well. But in order to beat this Rockets team you need to, as many Wolves players and coaches have noted, play for 48 minutes every single game.

After Monday’s Game 4, the Wolves stressed the importance of not getting too wrapped up in the big-picture narrative of what this game means, and its obvious stakes. Instead, Minnesota needs to take things one possession at a time. That formula worked in Game 3, when the Wolves played with urgency and emotion, but also with control, and beat the Rockets at Target Center.

Defeating the Rockets when Houston has a chance to win the series in front of their hometown crowd will be far from easy. The Wolves will need big performances up and down their roster. Encouragingly, both Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler, both of whom struggled earlier in the series, put together solid stretches of play in Game 4. Towns led the Wolves in scoring and rebounding, finishing with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Butler had nine rebounds and five assists to go along with 17 points.

The Wolves’ bench production will also need to remain consistent. Derrick Rose and Jamal Crawford have worked well together in the series, but they’ll need to keep up their aggressiveness in the next game of what has been a hard-fought and emotional series.

With their season on the line, you can be sure the Wolves will come out ready to play. Let’s hope that’s enough to get a victory against the red-hot Rockets. The game will be broadcast on TNT, but your hometown crew will have the call on Fox Sports North as well. The radio broadcast will be on Buz’n 102.9.

Starters:

Wolves: PG – Teague, SG – Butler, SF – Wiggins, PF – Gibson, C – Towns

Rockets: PG – Paul, SG – Harden, SF – Ariza, PF – Tucker, C – Capela

Injuries:

Wolves: Justin Patton (foot) is out. Tyus Jones (knee) is questionable. 

Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) is out.