Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/23/18

Timberwolves Blast Rockets

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets - 4/23/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Jeff Teague (23 points, eight assists) and Andrew Wiggins (20 points, five rebounds, five assists) both put in excellent games, while Derrick Rose (17 points) had another massive impact off the bench.

The Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2) meet the Houston Rockets (2-1) at Target Center in game four of the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

After totaling only 13 points over the first two games and being challenged to be more aggressive by everyone from TNT analyst Charles Barkley to Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, Towns was constantly double-teamed by the switch-heavy Rockets and didn't attempt a shot in the first quarter. The Rockets went 15-for-40, right around their regular-season average. Paul led the way with 27 points and 8 assists and Gerald Green scored 21 points off of the bench.

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Bench play - It seems unusual to say, but the Timberwolves' bench has outplayed their Rockets counterparts in two out of the three games. 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.

Clint Capela vs Karl-Anthony Towns - After his outstanding 24-point Game 1, Capela has been a less involved part of the Rockets offense over the past couple of games.

For as much of a roller coaster as the last 10 months have been for the Timberwolves in terms of injuries, defensive performance, and roster decisions, there's one area that Tom Thibodeau's squad has remained consistent: they take care of the basketball. Although, James Harden scored just 12 points and shot 2-for-18 from the field, including 1-for-10 from the 3-point line. Teague outplayed Rockets star Chris Paul and finished with 23 points and 8 assists. Now, it's been something of an adjustment to transition to playoff-level intensity, which was manifested in a letdown Game 3 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

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Game 4 tips off Monday night in Minnesota.

In the regular season, Houston led the National Basketball Association in both first quarter points scored (30.0) and average margin after the first quarter (4.5).

But Minnesota's win was about more than their big three scorers.

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