The Rockets lost their first playoff game this postseason as they dropped Game 3 to the Timberwolves in a 121-105 loss Saturday night.
Houston started with a lead in the first quarter, but Minnesota stormed back in the second quarter and ran away with things in the second half.
The Wolves were playing their first playoff game in the Target Center since 2004 and the home court advantage was clear tonight. Minnesotans came out and supported their Wolves and the team balled out for them.
In the beginning of the game, Karl-Anthony Towns was not involved in the offense whatsoever, but once the Wolves got him going, the offense was relentlessly unstoppable tonight. The team shot 50 percent from the floor and was 15-27 from three, good enough for 55.6 percent from beyond. This is coming from the team that shoots the least amount of threes in the NBA, so it was an unorthodox way of winning for the eighth seed.
Four Minnesota starters had 20+ points and Derrick Rose had 17 off the bench. Rose has played well in two of the three games in this series and the Rockets have not found an answer for them. Minnesota used the Rockets’ lack of size and exploited it as they kept driving to the rim with layups. The Wolves would either drive and hit the layup or drive and kick it out to someone on the perimeter, and it was incredibly successful in the second half.
The Rockets got a taste of their own medicine. Despite 29 points from James Harden and an efficient 7-11 from the field from CP3, the team could not keep up with the Wolves’ offense.
Had the Rockets used Ryan Anderson more in the offense, maybe the momentum would have shifted their way. Anderson played his first game of the series and made 4-6 threes for 12 points off the bench.
The Rockets did not play bad, but they were certainly the inferior team tonight. The Wolves matched the Rockets in terms of three-point production and the Rockets could not match the Wolves’ aggressiveness in attacking the rim. So, the Wolves beat the Rockets at their own game and the Rockets had no response.
This is probably the best the Wolves have played all season and if they play like this throughout the rest of the series, they will deserve the victory. This is not time to panic for the Rockets though, the lead is still in Houston’s house and I don’t think the Wolves will be able to play at the level they played at tonight. The Rockets still have some work to do, considering we have not seen the Rockets at their best yet in this series. But maybe that night will come Monday night for Game 4 when the Rockets look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. CT.