Two Western conference teams meet on ESPN Wednesday night as the Rockets travel to take on the Timberwolves. The Rockets lead the all time series 76-41, and the Rockets have won 8 of the last 10 matchups head to head.
The Rockets are coming off a 120-104 win over the Mavericks on Monday at home. Last Wednesday (2/6) they beat the Kings 127-101 on the road, and on Saturday (2/9) they lost to the Thunder 117-112 at home.
The Timberwolves are coming off a 130-120 win over the Clippers on Monday at home. Last Thursday (2/7) they lost to the Magic on the road 122-112, and on Friday (2/8) they lost 122-117 to the Pelicans on the road.
On the season, the Rockets are 26-29-1 ATS, 10-17 ATS on the road, and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games. On the season, the Timberwolves are 28-28 ATS, 15-13 ATS at home, and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games.
Houston opened as 3 point favourites.
(26-30 overall, 18-10 at home, 4-6 in last 10)
The Timberwolves average 111.7 PPG, 45.0 RPG, 11.8 ORPG, 24.4 APG, 8.7 SPG, 5.2 BPG, and 13.3 TPG. As a team they shoot 45.0% from the field, 79.6% from the free throw line, and 35.0% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 111.7 PPG, 45.0 RPG, 46.4% shooting from the field, and 36.8% shooting from 3 point range.
They are led by big man Karl Anthony-Towns, who averages 23.1 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG and 1.8 BPG while shooting 51.0% from the field, 84.7% from the free throw line, and 38.3% from 3 point range. Derrick Rose contributes 18.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.8 APG and 0.7 SPG while shooting 47.9/85.2/40.5. Andrew Wiggins chips in 17.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.6 BPG. Robert Covington (14.5 PPG/5.7 RPG/2.3 SPG), Jeff Teague (11.8 PPG/8.0 APG/1.1 SPG), Taj Gibson (10.4 PPG/6.5 RPG/2.4 ORPG/0.8 SPG) and Dario Saric (9.8 PPG/5.4 RPG/39.2% from 3) play big minutes as well.
F Andrew Wiggins (illness) – game time decision, G Tyus Jones (ankle) – game time decision, G Derrick Rose (ankle) – game time decision, F Robert Covington (ankle) – game time decision
(33-23 overall, 13-14 on the road, 7-3 in last 10)
The Rockets average 113.2 PPG, 41.7 RPG, 10.6 ORPG, 20.7 APG, 8.4 SPG, 5.4 BPG, and 13.8 TPG. As a team they shoot 44.7% from the field, 78.1% from the free throw line, and 34.8% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 110.9 PPG, 44.7 RPG, 47.5% shooting from the field, and 33.9% shooting from 3 point range.
James Harden continues to put up gaudy numbers, averaging 36.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.8 APG, 2.2 SPG and 0.8 BPG while shooting 44.1% from the field, 87.0% from the free throw line, and 37.4% from 3 point range. Newly acquired Kenneth Faried adds 16.3 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 64.7/33.3/56.3 in his 11 games with the Rockets. Eric Gordon chips in 16.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG. Chris Paul (15.6 PPG/4.1 RPG/8.0 APG/2.1 SPG), Gerald Green (9.8 PPG/2.7 RPG/35.8% from 3), P.J. Tucker (7.6 PPG/6.3 RPG/1.6 SPG) and Iman Shumpert (4.5 PPG/3.0 RPG/2.0 APG/1.5 SPG) contribute big minutes as well.
C Clint Capela (thumb) – out, G Austin Rivers (elbow) – doubtful
The Timberwolves have minimal answers for James Harden, with their best perimeter defender probably being Andrew Wiggins, who lacks the lateral mobility to stick with Harden. We’ve come to expect a big night from Harden every night, but his supporting cast is settling in beside him with Chris Paul, Kenneth Faried, and Eric Gordon all being capable scorers in their own right.
Offensively, the Timberwolves run through Karl Anthony-Towns, who is a top tier talent in his own right, but lack consistency from their supporting cast, namely Derrick Rose and Andrew Wiggins, who go through ebbs and flows when it comes to their offensive outputs.
While the Rockets aren’t defensive stalwarts, their ability to create turnovers and get points in transition will be a problem for the Timberwolves, as well as the disparity between the Timberwolves defensive rebounding and the Rockets ability on the offensive boards to create extra possessions. The Timberwolves have a lot of issues on the injury report, and it’s a safe bet at least a guy or 2 is a no go. Expect another big night from Harden, and if the Timberwolves don’t get solid secondary scoring from Rose or Wiggins this should be an easy cover.
Final Pick: Houston Rockets (-3)