How do Rockets match up against Timberwolves?

Houston Rockets Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Playoffs

Houston Rockets Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Playoffs

Or, more specifically, James Harden did.

James Harden scored only 10 points in the January game, but he was returning from missing seven games with an injury. In five previous years in Houston, Harden's Rockets have been one-and-done three times in the playoffs.

The Timberwolves kept it close to the end, with a late Rockets' turnover giving Minnesota the ball down three in the closing seconds, but Jimmy Butler's attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer fell woefully short. Houston, the deadliest 3-point shooting team in the game, went just 10 for 37 from deep. When the Timberwolves took an 86-85 lead with 6:49 left in the fourth, Harden scored 11-straight points with a series of dizzying step-back threes that the Timberwolves could do nothing to stop. It was clear why fans were cheering "MVP" every time Harden went to the line.

Timberwolves: Butler, who led the team by averaging 22.2 points in the regular season, finished with 13 points. Harden took over after that, scoring the last six points of the quarter to leave Houston up 76-72 entering the fourth.

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The Rockets possess a bevy of players with long playoff resumes, while two of the Wolves' best players in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will experience the playoffs for the very first time.

Jeff Teague flirted with a triple-double (15 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) while Derrick Rose added 16 points off the bench for Minnesota.

Wolves-Rockets? A less than one percent chance of finishing with a Minnesota victory, according to Pelton, even though he recognizes the Wolves as "atypically good" for an eight-seed.

Following the game, Houston head coach Mike D'Antoni pointed out that he expected a tough matchup from Minnesota because they were a high seed before losing Butler for a stretch.

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