Despite Strong Play From Okogie And Towns, Rockets Overpower Wolves In Houston
The Wolves took a 117-102 loss on the road to Houston on Sunday night, falling to 32-38 on the season. Minnesota battled with the Rockets through the first half but a 43-point third quarter by the Rockets doomed the Wolves. With the loss Minnesota failed to complete the season series sweep of Houston.
Outside of that third quarter the Wolves actually played the Rockets fairly well. While much of the fourth quarter amounted to garbage time, the Wolves didn’t allow more than 26 points to the Rockets in any quarter but the third. Unfortunately, with a team as offensively gifted as the Rockets giving them any room to breath is deadly. The Wolves were a step behind in the third period and were unable to catch up.
Minnesota was led by Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Towns played well but did not have the kind of efficient night we’ve come to expect, shooting just 36.4 percent from the field.
Josh Okogie, however, had an extremely efficient game, tying his career high with 21 points on eight-of-fourteen shooting from the field, including three three-pointers. That’s a welcome sight for the Wolves—Okogie has consistently been able to impact games on the defensive end, but has had trouble shooting the ball, especially from range. Hopefully this game serves as a jumping off point for the young guard.
THE ROOK LOVES PLAYING HOUSTON pic.twitter.com/bjIZfIMNoD
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 18, 2019
The Wolves outrebounded the Rockets 52-to-44 in total and 15-to-10 on the offensive end but were for the most part unable to capitalize on their second chances. The Rockets also caught fire from three-point range, hitting 21 of 50 attempts from deep. The Wolves only managed 10 three-point makes in response.
While James Harden was held in check relatively well (20 points on 33.3-percent shooting), Chris Paul was on another level with 25 points (including going 6-for-7 from range), 10 assists and seven rebounds. The three-headed attack of Harden, Paul and Clint Capela was too much for the Wolves. While none of those players went crazy, they all performed well enough to overwhelm Minnesota’s banged-up lineup.
Things won’t get any easier for the Wolves—they play the Warriors at home on Tuesday—and they are certainly hoping for some good news on the injury front. With Luol Deng, Robert Covington, Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose all missing solid chunks of time, the Wolves have been forced to rely on a group of players that would almost certainly not be seeing as much time were the Wolves at full health. The development of the younger players who are getting chances to cut their teeth in real NBA game action is great for the future of the franchise, but it’s tough to win games against a team like Houston with a relatively unproven group. However, the Wolves certainly competed tonight and were in it for much of the game. They can learn from a contest like this one.