Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 keys to series vs. Rockets

James Harden

James Harden led the National Basketball Association this year in scoring with an impressive 30.8 points per game, while Center Clint Capela led the league with a 65.2 field goal percentage. It's the first time a LeBron James-led team has dropped the opening game of the first round of the playoffs.

Houston kept All-Star big man Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points after he'd averaged 21.3 in leading the Wolves to their first playoff appearance since 2004.

Houston Rockets forward/center Ryan Anderson (ankle) is "50-50" to play in Game 1 on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Rockets finished with a league-best record of 65-17. While the Game 1 loss was far more competitive than any of the team's four regular season meetings - which Houston swept convincingly - Sunday was an opportunity missed for Minnesota.

In the last regular season meeting between the two teams in March, Gerald Green was ejected in the fourth quarter for coming to Chris Paul's defense after Minnesota's Gorgui Dieng pushed Paul down after a foul.

The Timberwolves had a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Houston used a 9-0 run, with the last seven points from Harden, to make it 94-86 with about four minutes to go. Score more points than them, sure, that's it. Minnesota is 24 in rebounding with 42 boards a night and 18 in assists by dishing out 22.7 dimes per contest.

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Offensive efficiency will be the mantra for the Timberwolves as they look to upset the Rockets.

Then Khris Middleton forced overtime with an absurd 3-pointer at the buzzer that barely got off his fingertips in time. Their "reward" was a date with the top-seeded Rockets. After a bad pass by Paul gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie it with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler's shot was short.

The Rockets are above average offensively: they are 2 in the league with 112.4 points per game. Capela had 20 points and 10 rebounds at halftime, but was limited in the second half and added just four more points and two rebounds.

The Wolves didn't get enough from their big guns to contend with a team that possesses the firepower Houston has.

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