Cincinnati.com
National Basketball Association
Preview
Minnesota at Houston
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Houston Rockets look to close out the Western Conference first-round series with Minnesota when they host the Timberwolves in Wednesday's Game 5. Houston holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after using a 50-point third quarter to prevail in Game 4.

The Rockets led by just one point at halftime of Game 4 before the explosive quarter that fell one point short of the postseason record set by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1962. "We can be that team," Houston reserve guard Eric Gordon told reporters. "We just hadn't gotten into a flow throughout this whole series. It was good to see that." Eighth-seeded Minnesota faces an uphill climb against the top-seeded Rockets and instantly forgetting about the defensive breakdowns might be a tall task. "Fifty points in a quarter is a lot of points," Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler said. "That can't happen. That's the game in itself."

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FS North (Minnesota), AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston)

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES: Backup point guard Derrick Rose tallied 17 points in each of the past two games and he would be in line for a lot of minutes once again with starter Jeff Teague (two points on 1-of-7 shooting) dealing with a dislocated right pinky finger. Center Karl-Anthony Towns put together back-to-back strong games by averaging 20 points and 15.5 rebounds after averaging 6.5 points (on 5-of-18 shooting) and 11 rebounds in the first two games of the series. Butler is averaging 17.8 points in the series with a high of 28 while small forward Andrew Wiggins is chipping in 16.3 per game.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS:
Guard James Harden scored 22 of his 36 points in the third-quarter spree and is averaging 30.8 points in the series on 41.8 percent shooting. "We had the mentality to be aggressive, make or missed shots," Harden told reporters of the third-quarter outburst. "That's what we do. We shoot the basketball, and eventually they'll start falling." Point guard Chris Paul was all-around solid with 25 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals in Game 4 and is averaging 20.8 points in the series.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Timberwolves have lost 13 straight games in Houston following losses in Games 1 and 2 of this series.

2. Minnesota PF Taj Gibson is averaging just 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in the series after posting averages of 12.2 points and 7.1 boards during the regular season.

3. Houston C Clint Capela had 14 points and 17 rebounds in Game 4 and he is the postseason rebounding leader at 14 per game.

PREDICTION: Rockets 127, Timberwolves 93
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Minnesota 48-38 L1 31-12 17-26 3-0 45-38 10-6 35-21
Houston 68-18 W1 36-7 32-11 1-1 67-17 12-4 44-12
Last Meeting
Minnesota Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/23/18 HOU 119 MIN 100 100 48 46.4 119 46 43.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 22 60.0 4
Houston J. Harden 36 46.2 7
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 15 5 10
Houston C. Capela 17 7 10
Assists Player  
Minnesota J. Butler 5
Houston C. Paul 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 1843 53.8 368
Houston J. Harden 2396 44.4 676
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 1082 255 827
Houston C. Capela 893 270 623
Assists Player  
Minnesota J. Teague 528
Houston J. Harden 686
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
Minnesota Off vs Houston - Points For 109.1 Points For
Minnesota Off vs Houston - Points Against 103.7 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 47.5 FG%
Houston - FG% 46.2 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 42.2 Reb
Houston - Reb 42.3 Reb
Houston Houston Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
Houston Off vs Minnesota - Points For 112.1 Points For
Houston Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 107.3 Points Against
Houston - FG% 45.8 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 47.3 FG%
Houston - Reb 43.5 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 41.9 Reb