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Scouting Report | Wolves vs. Rockets

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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The Game

This is the final game for the Wolves before the All-Star break. And it comes against a tough opponent in the Houston Rockets.

The Wolves are coming off a 130-120 win over the Clippers on Monday night and sit at 26-30 on the season, four games back from a playoff spot.

The Rockets beat the Mavericks 120-104 on Monday night and have won four of their last five games. Houston is 33-23 overall, fifth in the West.

This is the second of three matchups between the two teams. The Wolves beat the Rockets 103-91 at Target Center back on Dec. 3.

The Wolves will wear their City Edition uniforms, so expect plenty of Prince fun in the arena.  

Renowned drummer, vocalist and Prince collaborator Sheila E. will return to the hometown of Prince for an exclusive halftime performance. That’s something you don’t want to miss. All fans in attendance will receive a City Edition rally towel. 

What: Wolves vs. Rockets
When: 7 p.m. CT
Where: Target Center
Watch: Fox Sports North, ESPN
Listen: 830 WCCO  
Tickets

Starting Saric

Ryan Saunders inserted Dario Saric into the starting lineup on Monday night, replacing Taj Gibson. This really has nothing to do with Gibson, but more about what Saric can give the Wolves as a stretch four to spread out the defense when Karl-Anthony Towns gets doubled.

While it took a little bit, we saw why Saunders made the move. Saric finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, shooting 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.

It also helps to have a guy like Gibson who is willing to do whatever for the team. He finished with 15 points off the bench.

Saric has had an up and down season with the Wolves, trying to find his place, but it looks like we’re getting closer. Over his last four games, Saric has averaged 16.8 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from the 3-point line.

Hot Harden

If you haven’t heard about James Harden’s recent scoring surge, I’m not sure where you’ve been for the last two months.

Harden has scored 30 points in 30-straight games. That’s ridiculous. 

Over that stretch, Harden is averaging 41.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the 3-point line.

The Rockets are 21-9 during that stretch.

For what it’s worth, the Wolves “held” Harden to 29 points in their earlier matchup this season.

How do you stop Harden? That’s what we can an “LOL” question in the business. It’s nearly impossible and it takes a village. Obviously, you’d love to have Robert Covington for this, but he’s out with a knee injury. We’ll see how Saunders approaches this matchup. 

Injury Report:

Wolves: Derrick Rose (ankle) is probable. Andrew Wiggins (illness) is questionable. Tyus Jones (ankle) is doubtful. Robert Covington (knee) is out. 

Rockets: Austin Rivers (elbow) and Clint Capela (thumb) are out. 

Probable Starters:

Wolves: PG - Teague, SG - Okogie, SF - Wiggins, PF - Gibson, C - Towns

Rockets: PG – Paul, SG – Harden, SF – Gordon, PF – Tucker, C - Faried

 

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