Wolves Happy With Game 3 Win; Hungry For More

Apr 15 2018 Cleveland OH USA Cleveland Cavaliers forward Le Bron James stands beside Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson in the fourth quarter in game one of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit

For most of the regular season, the Rockets cruised, playing very few close games and easily securing the best record in the National Basketball Association.

Barley slipping past the ninth-seeded Denver Nuggets in the wild wild West, Minnesota was rightfully projected to get swept in the first round when facing off against a team that clinched a playoff spot long before anyone else. Houston has now lost its past nine playoff games when the opponents shoots at least 50 per cent. The Rockets' three point shooting has been even worse as they are hitting a paltry 31.5 percent from beyond the arc: they hit 69.6 percent at the charity stripe.

Houston looked unbeatable at home, but the Timberwolves showed they had some fight left in game 3. Chris Paul chipped in 17 points, Eric Gordon added 15 off the bench, Ryan Anderson had 12 in his return to the rotation and Gerald Green had 10.

The eighth-seeded Timberwolves made a playoff statement Saturday by rolling the No. 1 Rockets. Harden had 29 points and seven assists in Game 3, when Paul fouled out after only 30 minutes, finishing with 17 points and six assists. Clint Capela, who was big in the first two games, finished with seven points and 11 rebounds. The Rockets will have to play tougher and smarter if they want to bounce back in game 4.

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Minnesota guards, Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague, both had outstanding games on both sides of the ball to help their team get a win. In victories this season, they're averaging 115 points on 47 percent shooting, while allowing just 101.8 points. Coach Mike D'Antoni stated that he felt that the team hadn't played up to its full potential since the middle of March.

Game 4 tips off Monday night in Minnesota. But if the Thunder know what's good for them, they'll do their best to ensure that they don't find themselves in the unenviable predicament of needing to becoming the 12th.

If Minnesota had a puncher's chance of staggering mighty Houston, it would most logically occur via an explosion by the Wolves' fourth-ranked offense - more specifically, via the heroics of Karl-Anthony Towns.

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