Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35) vs Houston Rockets (65-17)Date : 04/18/2018
Time : 9:30 PM ET
Location : Toyota Center
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Houston Rockets
The Rockets taking a commanding 1-0 lead against the Wolves as James Harden showed us why he is the MVP this season by recording his 5th career 40 point playoff game with 44 points and 8 assists.
The Wolves had no answer for the Bearded One, he was getting any shot he wants and when Derrick Rose was on him he was looking to abuse that matchup every time down the floor.
Minnesota hung tight with the best team in the NBA as they kept it close until James Harden took over it was a balanced scoring for the Wolves tonight with Wiggins leading the way with 18 points.
The game was over when James Harden turned on the intensity and prove to be no match for the Wolves in game one.
Minnesota Timberwolves's Latest Performance :
Where was Karl Anthony Towns? After a terrific last game of the season he decides to disappear in the first game of the playoffs he could have easily have been the difference maker for the Wolves but shooting 9 times isn’t going to do it. Watching the game on TNT every time down the floor Chris Webber would mention Towns got a mismatch against Harden feeds him the ball, the ball never reached him, another mismatch opportunity he runs to the 3 point line instead of posting up. KAT needs to be more assertive and demanding of the ball since he is their franchise player, with a performance like this I rather have the Nuggets be playing the Rockets. KAT got outplayed by Capela who finished the game with 24 points.
Nerves got the better of Towns this time around, but a former number one pick everyone expects him to dominate his matchup because this is what we play for to get to the postseason.
Jimmy Butler has to face the depth of this Rocket team, being guarded by Tucker on the defensive end and have to deal with Harden on the other side, it is very tired to play both sides with the pace the Rockets are accustomed to playing. He had 13 points in the game.
A great showing from the bench Derrick Rose returns to playoffs dropping 16 and Jamal with a solid 15 points they did their part.
Player to watch: All eyes will be on KAT as he should be able to dominate his opponents down low. Now Towns will have to learn the hard way that the style of play is much different in the playoffs than the regular season, that is the only way you get better as a player.
Houston Rockets's Latest Performance :
This year Rocket team seems to have everything figured out after an impressive showing from Clint Capela setting the tone in the first half with 20 points along with 3 block shots. Although the Rockets shot bad from distance tonight shooting only 27% they did not alter their game plan they simply kept on shooting. It helps if the team isn’t shooting as well to have an MVP caliber player who is capable of taking over games, Harden alone had 7 threes.
Harden might be the best player to score off an isolation in this league right now because of his lethal first step once he has a step on you the thing you know he is either finishing at the rim or getting himself to the line the way he controls his body when drawing contact is like a work of art. His ability to shoot off the dribble while stepping back from 3 he does it so effortlessly.
Harden has been a victim of not showing up in playoffs games during the past few years so he wanted to put that to bed after tonight’s performance.
This is probably the first time that James Harden didn’t have to guard the opposing team best player that’s why the acquisition of PJ Tucker was huge for this team and tonight showed us how valuable Tucker is to this team although he does not put up numbers but does all the little things, making Jimmy Butler shoot only 36% tonight a great effort by Tucker.
Chris Paul played a solid game as well dropping 14, he has now accepted the role that this is Harden’s team but he will play a crucial part as the Rockets progress through the playoffs as he calmly sinks two clutch free throws in the 4th.
Player to watch: This time it won’t be player but look for the Rockets threes to start dropping in game 2.
How Minnesota Timberwolves & Houston Rockets Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
The Rockets are 34-7 at home this season.
Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Against The Spread Selection: Houston Rockets
My reason for the pick :
Look for 3 pointers to start dropping as the Rockets will take a commanding 2-0 as the series shift to Minnesota. Plain and Simple.
Betting trends for Minnesota Timberwolves:
- The total has gone OVER in 14 of Minnesota’s last 17 games when playing Houston.
Betting trends for Houston Rockets:
- Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Minnesota.