Wolves at Rockets
7:00 pm CDT
The Rockets sit at 48-23 are pushing hard to overtake the Memphis Grizzlies and move into the 2nd spot in the Western Conference. They have won five of their last six games, and center Dwight Howard recently returned from a lengthy injury absence. Their record might be a little bit deceiving, as they are five wins better than their points scored/allowed would expect, but if they get everyone healthy they could be a danger team in the playoffs. Getting everyone healthy is a problem, however, because just as Howard is returning, Patrick Beverley has gone out with a torn ligament in his wrist.
As always, the Rockets are ahead of the curve in their use of the three pointer, leading the league in attempts, rate, and makes from behind the arc, while sitting last in 2PAs despite playing at the 3rd fastest pace in the league. They get to the line at the 6th highest rate in the league because they simply don't take midrange jump shots. If it isn't a 3, it's around the rim, and that leads to fouls. Of course having MVP candidate James Harden on your team, arguably the best drawer of fouls currently in the league, helps considerably.
The Rockets have been a better defensive team this year, thanks to their ability to force turnovers and defend the three point line (1st in opponents' 3P%), despite being a poor defensive rebounding club. The Wolves will have to hit the boards hard in this one while avoiding fouls.
The Rockets will be looking for the season sweep of the Wolves tonight, having won the first three meetings--one each in Houston, Minneapolis, and Mexico City. The game in Minneapolis was an exciting overtime loss for the Wolves, who fought back in the 4th quarter to force the extra period before losing. The other two were much more comfortable Rockets wins. Of course the Wolves were without several key players in all three games, and that looks to be the case again tonight. Nobody who has been missing games is likely to play tonight either, meaning once again the Wolves will have 8 available players.
Here's a link to The Dream Shake. Be excellent.
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Enjoy. Chat. Go.