I have been a fan of both the Timberwolves and Rockets all season so picking a team to cheer for this offseason was a tough decision. Since James Harden has been a member of the Rockets I have been a huge fan. On the other hand, I was a big fan of Jimmy Butler when he was in Chicago and followed him this past offseason to Minnesota. Both of these players are very important people on their respected teams.
Butler is a key offensive and defensive player for the Timberwolves. For the Rockets, James Harden has been a constant threat on offense with both his shooting ability and ball skills. You cant forget that Harden is also one of the best passers in the league while Jimmy Butler is one of the best defenders in the league.
For the offseason the Rockets are the No. 1 seed in the Western conference, while the Timberwolves just barely made the playoffs and are the No. 8 seed. However, the Timberwolves are much more successful and talented than what their seeding position says. After the Rockets took the first two games of the series it looked to be all about the Rockets, but game three took a turn and the Timberwolves stay alive a little longer this postseason.
After the Rockets suffered a 121-105 loss in Game three, which allowed the Timberwolves to gain momentum at home and possibly tie the series during Game four on Monday night in Minnesota. However, after the game the Rockets head coach was his calm self even though he is aware that the Rockets will have to match the aggression and intensity of the Timberwolves. The Game three loss was only one of three losses the Rockets have experienced during their 23 meetings with the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves pulled within one game in the series behind Jimmy Butler who scored 28 points and Jeff Teague who had 23 points. The Timberwolves also hit 15 three-pointers during Saturdays win which, thanks to a powerful crowd, was their first playoff win since 2004. The Timberwolves were not a strong three point team this season as they hit the fewest 3s per game during the regular season.
The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, are one of the strongest three point shooting teams in the NBA and led the regular season in 3s per game. The Timberwolves seemed to find their groove during Game three and much of the success on defense came because Karl-Anthony Towns continuously engaged defenders down low and Taj Gibson played impressive one-on-one defense against James Harden. The Rockets shot 47.5% from the field in the second half but had seven turnovers and shot 31.6% from 3. If the Rockets want to come away on top they will have to figure themselves out defensively. If they play defense like they did during the first two games of the series when they held the Timberwolves to 91.5 points per game and to shooting 38.8% from the field during Game two.