Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35) vs Houston Rockets (65-17)Date : 04/25/2018
Time : 9:30 PM
Location : Toyota Center
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are happy to return home for game 5 after a rough game 3 on the road in Minnesota as they got creamed by 16 points. Minnesota won their first playoff game in 14 years which is satisfying enough for Timberwolves fans as their playoff run should be cut short in the coming games. The Rockets are looking to return to the 2nd round of the playoffs in consecutive years and a win in front of their home crowd will do just that.
Minnesota Timberwolves's Latest Performance :
Big Game From Everyone
You can tell right from the opening tip that the Timberwolves were coming to play as the arena was rocking and players played hard on both ends of the court. The Timberwolves changed up their game plan in game 3 and that was to shoot more shots from behind the arc and defend the three-point shot which were both successful strategies. The Timberwolves were able to connect on 55.6 % of their shots from 3 as well as hold the Rockets to 36.6 % from the same spot which made the Rockets play out of style. The Timberwolves were also very successful in allowing everyone to contribute as they had 5 guys go for 15+ points. Derrick Rose looks like he is enjoying his new role in Minnesota under his former coach in Tom Thibodeau who molded him into an excellent player in his time in Chicago. Rose had been coming off the bench as the main ball handler and in game 3 Rose dropped 17 points in 21 minutes of action. Karl-Anthony Towns was also a huge reason that the Timberwolves were able to win in blowout fashion as he was able to contribute a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. KAT was only able to score a combined 13 points through the first two games as he was trying to play a style of game he is not fit to do. The T-Wolves will need to continue receiving a strong defensive effort if they want any shot of stealing a couple of more games.
Houston Rockets's Latest Performance :
The Houston Rockets purposely lost game 3 so they can clinch the playoff series in front of their home fans, right? As I am sure this is not the case the story should be rather on the defensive struggles of Houston and the lack of production from Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela. The Rockets identity hasn’t been dependant on their defense this season, but in the first 2 games, they held the Timberwolves to 92 PPG which showed promise for the Rockets to lock down in prime time. The Timberwolves came into game 3 with a different mindset and that was to shoot from behind the arc which took Clint Capela away from the rim where he is best. Clint Capela struggled in game 3 as he missed a couple of easy layups that should be made in his sleep, but Capela went 3 for 6 from the field and 1 for 6 from the free throw line to hold him to 7 points in this matchup. Another guy who struggled in this matchup was Trevor Ariza who has been the 3rd scoring option for the Rockets all year, but in game 3 Ariza was limited in his shot taking as he took 5 shots in the game only connecting on 2 of them to give him 6 points. The Rockets will need to tighten up their defense and three-point shooting if they want to end this series as soon as possible.
How Minnesota Timberwolves & Houston Rockets Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Minnesota is 39-43-3 ATS, 18-24-1 ATS on the road.
Houston is 42-42-1 ATS, 18-24-1 ATS at home.
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
Houston ended the regular season as the #2 ranked scoring offense as they outscored the 8th ranked Minnesota offense by 2.9 PPG (HOU- 112.4 PPG, MIN- 109.5 PPG).
Houston ended the regular season as the #6 ranked scoring defense as they held opponents to 3.4 less PPG than the 17th ranked Minnesota defense. (HOU- 103.9 PPG, MIN- 107.3 PPG).
Houston swept the season series, 4-0.
Houston is leading the playoff series, 2-1.
Against The Spread Selection: Houston Rockets*
My reason for the pick :
The best thing for any team to do after losing on the road is to return home and play in your home arena where you have gone through the same routine for years. The Rockets have the best team in the NBA and they showed that in the regular season and all though they slipped up in game 3 I wouldn’t be worried as Harden and Paul won’t let them slip up again.
Betting trends for Minnesota Timberwolves:
- Minnesota is 10-15 ATS as the road underdog this season.
- The over is 30-18-1 with one day off this season.
Betting trends for Houston Rockets:
- Houston is 29-26 ATS against Western Conference opponents this season.
- The under is 49-34-2 this season.