It’s a little annoying when other teams share your team’s narrative during the season.
For the most part, the adjectives used to describe this season’s Houston Rockets would be “surprising,” “upstart,” “promising,” or something else in that realm. That feels good as a fan. People are recognizing that the Rockets are entering the world of relevancy. It’s cool.
And then there are the Minnesota Timberwolves, who could also be described as “surprising,” “upstart,” or “promising.” Minnesota is sitting in first place in the Western Conference, and even with a two-game losing streak, are sitting one game ahead of both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets as I type this.
The Wolves confused a lot of people last year when they traded four first round picks for Rudy Gobert. While the move made some sense, it felt more like an attempt to placate star Karl-Anthony Towns. Then Towns missed most of last season and the Wolves finished in eighth place in the West. They did get out of the play-in as the eighth seed, but bowed out in the first round thanks to a gentleman’s sweep against the eventual champion Nuggets.
Last year, the Timberwolves finished 18th in defense. Houston was 28th. This season, they’re first and second. Maybe that has something to do with their respective turnarounds?
Former Rockets assistant coach Chris Finch has installed a system that appears to be succeeding, and Anthony Edwards has taken control of the team as its unquestioned alpha. They lost out on Jaden McDaniels for 10 games earlier this season, but have otherwise kept their key pieces on the court. Adversity will come, as it always does in the NBA, but the Timberwolves are equipped to weather some storms. Also, no one is talking about Naz Reid, who’s an absolute dog and a joy to watch on the court. Yes, I’m gushing about a player that didn’t attend Texas Tech or Gonzaga. It is a leap year, after all.
As it always seems to be the case, Houston’s tough games continue to show up in bunches. After tonight, the Rockets will complete a back-to-back against the Milwaukee Bucks (who didn’t play Friday, naturally). Then comes the trip to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat on Monday, who will have two days off before that game.
The Rule of Three seems like destiny at this point.
How to Watch
Space City Home Network
Dillon Brooks-GTD (abdominal)
Tari Eason-GTD (leg)
Luka Garza-GTD (back)
The Line (as of this post)
Looking ahead because we can
Saturday (tomorrow) at home against the Milwaukee Bucks