PBT Extra Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

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Every time the Rockets pulled away, the Timberwolves found a way back into the game, getting to within three points in crunch time. Jimmy Butler led the Timberwolves with 31 points in the win. Not only are they one of only two teams to make over 1,000 threes this season but they have made nearly twice as many threes per game as the Timberwolves have. They rank first in offensive rating, but don't sleep on Houston's defense with Clint Capela down low.

The Rockets were dominant in the regular season and won a franchise-high 65 games to finish top of the pile in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves finished 47-35 on the season, one game ahead of Denver to earn the final playoff spot in the West. Minnesota let an eight point halftime lead slip away as the Nuggets forced overtime before regrouping. Andrew Wiggins is third on Minnesota with 17.7 points plus 4.4 boards a game.

Rockets and Minessota take the court Sunday night for the first of seven games at the Toyota Center. Russell Westbrook added 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. It's impossible to stop their offense entirely but the Minnesota bigs are going to have to at least consistently apply pressure, get hands in shooters' faces, and not give them the easy looks. The Timberwolves haven't been to the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. Towns had 12 rebounds and two assists.

If the Timberwolves are going to upset the Rockets, they will likely need a big series from Butler.

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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. The Houston Rockets are averaging 112.4 points on 46 percent shooting and allowing 103.9 points on 46.2 percent shooting.

There's really no "key to the game" against a team like the Rockets. Eric Gordon (ankle) is probable.

BC-BKN-Timberwolves-Rockets, 1st Ld-Writethru, 670Harden scores 44 points, Rockets beat Wolves 104-101AP Photo NVJL114, NVJL119, NVJL105, NVJL103, NVJL101, NVJL106Eds: APNewsNow.

This is a common occurrence too with many teams around the National Basketball Association living with their bigs switching on guards in an attempt to deal with the vast number of pick-and-rolls that make up most offenses.

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