NBA Playoffs Preview: Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves, SWOT Analysis & Prediction

James Harden

Harden's year has been remarkable as he's posted averages of 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three.

Let's not worry right now about what the Timberwolves would have to do to make a run past the first round. Jimmy Butler is averaging 22.2 points and 4.9 assists while Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds.

The Rockets possess a bevy of players with long playoff resumes, while two of the Wolves' best players in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns will experience the playoffs for the very first time.

The NBA Playoffs got off to a great start on Saturday, and Sunday was no different.

Outside of James Harden, nobody was more valuable to the Rockets than Clint Capela in Sunday's 104-101 Game 1 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston average 122 points per game against the T-wolves, with an average margin of victory of 15 points. Minnesota got monster minutes from Derrick Rose.

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Houston fell to Sacramento in a game that meant nothing to either side as the Kings were headed to the lottery while the Rockets had long locked up the top seed in the playoffs and home court advantage throughout.

The Minnesota Timberwolves look to build on their momentum after winning five of their last seven games to clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday. Minnesota is 24 in rebounding with 42 boards a night and 18 in assists by dishing out 22.7 dimes per contest.

Defensively, he's going to have to play the series of his life handling Paul and Harden off the pick and roll and guarding against the lob when the Rockets' guards penetrate.

The Wolves are hung tough, and had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but the Rockets escaped with a three-point win. Eric Gordon (ankle) is probable. Saunders passed two days before the start of the National Basketball Association season, before he had a chance to see the number one overall pick who'd become part of his family play a game in Minnesota.

He went down with a knee injury in their second match-up on February 23rd, then missed the last two games between the two teams. While it's fair to say that the Rockets had most teams' numbers this season, the fact remains that it's hard to argue with a sweep.

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