The four-time All-Star is healthy and ready to go and will be an offensive factor for Minnesota after averaging 22.2 points per game this season. Mike D'Antoni found the click to create a well-oiled machine characterized by its high efficiency in iso-ball and three-point game. Paul is averaging just under 20 points this season, while also collecting an impressive 7.9 assists per game. This game was the first time since 1997 that two teams were playing in a season finale that would put one team in the playoffs and send the other team home, and it's only the fifth time ever. The Minnesota Timberwolves waited 13 years to make the playoffs while the Houston Rockets spent the best part of the last two months of the regular season waiting for the playoffs.
James Harden is heading into the postseason with the top seed and heavy expectations after a likely MVP-winning regular season campaign. Had swingman Jimmy Butler not missed more than a month with a torn meniscus, the Timberwolves might have clinched their postseason berth long before the final day of the regular season.
Off the court, the city of Houston would lose their minds if the Rockets followed the Astros as world champs. The Rockets will have to depend on their defense at some point these playoffs no question about it. The Timberwolves are 17 in scoring defense as they allow 107.3 points per game. If they want any chance in the series, the Wolves need to figure out the Rockets' spread pick and roll. He did, however, also dish out 10.3 assists to go with just 2.8 turnovers in these games. He still averaged 21.3 points on 54.5% shooting and 12.3 rebounds and improved his 3-point shooting to an incredible 42.1%.
Houston hit over 1200 3-pointers this year, ranking them number one in the Association.
Rose took 14 shots, and while a couple of those were questionable, he was one of Minnesota's most effective assets. The Rockets are 15 in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 46 percent as a team. Houston ranks third in the National Basketball Association in points per possession in the pick and roll, with 0.93.
Houston is 1-6 ATS in its past seven games. Houston, even with Gordon, Capela and Anderson questionable along with Mbah a Moute out until early May have a terrific second unit. The five man group of Gibson, Butler, Teague, Wiggins and Towns played 45 more minutes than any other group in the league and that's even with Butler missing almost six weeks.