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Two-day tank battle ends in stalemate as Rockets defeat T-Wolves 129-107

Timberwolves Throw A Tread To “Earn” Split In Two Game Armored Affray

The Tanks Are On The Move
Photo by PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images

The Timberwolves got a much-needed loss tonight, avoiding a sweep of the visiting Houston Rockets 129-107.

The scoreline would indicate a blowout, and that’s what this game mostly was, except for the Rockets familiar Third Quarter Collapse strategy that almost lured Minnesota back into the contest.

The Rockets shot well in the contest throughout, except for the end of the seemingly endless third quarter. Minnesota had gone down by 34 early in the quarter when the Rockets opted to let them back into the game with a considerable part of the third quarter, and all of the fourth quarter, remaining. A flurry of points by Minnesota and a period of listless, terrible, offense by the Rockets saw the Timberwolves narrow the Rockets lead to a mere 18pts.

If you watched the game last night, you know that the Rockets can easily surrender 20 points, while scoring few to no points themselves. Alas, it was not to be, as Chris Finch (another Morey find), the Minnesota coach, opted to explore his deep bench options as Juan Hernangomez was simply too good for the job at hand.

DJ Augustin, the Rockets other acquisition from Milwaukee, has apparently not gotten the tanking memo, or perhaps as a future unrestricted free agent, wishes to show NBA teams that if they’re looking for a steady hand at backup point guard, along with a still springy first step, they could do worse than Mr. Augustin. He scored 20pts on an efficient 8-14 shooting night, and while he only dished four assists, he got the Rockets offense unclogged whenever he was in the game.

It was a better night for John of The Wall (What is John’s Wall Made Of? Bricks, baby, bricks! Brick Wall!). He’s a much more useful player at lower usage, so even if his 5-14 shooting night wasn’t efficient, his 12 assists to one turnover was exceedingly so. Oddly enough, Wall is shooting a set 3pt shot fairly well, which bodes well for his future.

The big story tonight was Kevin Porter Jr, who just looked unstoppable by anything. Anything short of another injury, which he garnered late in this game. Perhaps he aggravated his quad injury, or came back too soon, or did something else. We’ll know soon enough.

Christian Wood, as is most common with him, did not play. I don’t want to be harsh to Wood, a player I like very much, but health is a skill, and it’s looking like one he doesn’t have. We hope that this is just precautionary, but it did nothing for The Battle of Target Center, that raged into its second night of tank combat. It was no Kursk, but rather a stalemate, as both teams lost one game.

Another useful Rocket (in the traditional, square, “winning is better” sense) was Kelly Olynyk. The YMan scored 16pts on 4 of 6 3pt shooting, notched three steals, four assists and typical Rockets Big Man fashion, hardly rebounded at all, clawing down a mere four boards. That’s fine, he’s a stretch big, and did a passable Christian Wood impersonation.

Who knows what it might be like if every Rocket were available, and Olynyk and Wood were on the court simultaneously? It would seem we will never know this season.

In any event, the Timberwolves proved the cannier opponent, tank destroyers if you will, no doubt due to their deep and broad experience on the Eastern Front of armored combat


Will all the Rockets ever be available in the same game this season?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Is this a joke? Obviously not.
    (121 votes)
  • 15%
    Yes, in one game.
    (34 votes)
  • 29%
    No, because Luka isn’t a Rocket yet.
    (65 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now

. The Rockets have proven to be talented upstarts in this regard, with their trend setting 20 consecutive loss performance, but sometimes there’s no substitute for experience, as Minnesota threw a tread, and got the split.

EDIT (correcting inaccurate information) - Please direct your condolences and sympathies to Danuel House and family, as his sister-in-law and her three children were killed when their car was struck by a drunk driver earlier this week. It is understandably unknown when he will return to the Rockets.