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Scouting Report | Wolves at Rockets

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Thursday
Wolves at Rockets, 8:30 p.m.
TNT, 830 WCCO

Why you should watch:

The Wolves are looking to bounce back after Tuesday night’s tough loss to the Magic. Prior to that, the Wolves won five-in-a-row at home.

This is Minnesota’s first look at the second-place Rockets this season. And while they might be without James Harden, it’s still worth it to watch Chris Paul who is averaging 18.6 points, 9.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds in his first season with Houston. The Rockets acquired Paul in a trade this offseason from the Clippers. The thought is that James Harden will return against the Wolves, barring any setbacks from a hamstring injury,

It’s a pretty important game for both teams as far as mid-January games go. The Rockets are trying to bounce back from a loss to the Clippers on Monday.

The Wolves are fourth in the West at 29-17, a half game back from third and three game back from the 30-12 Rockets in second.

Gerald Green and Trevor Ariza are out after being suspended for “aggressively” entering the Clippers locker room on Monday night, which believe it or not, is something that is frowned upon in the NBA.

Opposing player I’ll be watching:

If Harden plays, it’s him. Even with Paul on the team, Harden is averaging a league-leading 32.3 points to go with 9.1 assists and five rebounds per game. He’s shooting 45.1 percent from the field (highest since 2013-14) and 39 percent from the 3-point line, up more than four percent from last season.

Harden apparently also made this locker room visit on Monday, but was a “peace maker,” according to the NBA. What a hero.

If Harden can stay healthy (he’s missed seven games already this season) for the rest of the season, he’s LeBron James’ main competition for MVP.

But do you remember this from 2015?! (I did not until I searched "James Harden" and "Timberwolves" on YouTube.)

Fun Timberwolves fact: Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 26.4 points and 15.6 rebounds in seven career games against the Rockets.

Injuries:

Rockets: Harden (hamstring) and Nene Hilario (knee) are questionable. Green and Ariza (suspension) are out.

Wolves: No injuries to report.

Starting Lineups:

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

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