The Houston Rockets came into Friday night’s contest with the Minnesota Timberwolves as winners of of two straight, but couldn’t get it done against one of the better teams in the Western Conference, as the Rockets were dominated on both sides of the ball in a 122-95 defeat.
Houston shot just 40 percent from the field while giving up 52 percent to Minnesota, and with both Dillon Brooks and Tari Eason sidelined, Houston had no answer for Anthony Edwards, who finished with a game-high 24 points. Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, and Rudy Gobert put up 13 points, 12 boards and 2 blocks for Minnesota, as they mostly had their way with the Rockets front line all night, leading to a 51-39 Minnesota advantage on the boards.
As for the good guys, Jalen Green led the way with 20 points, but he was just 7-for-16 from the field. Alperen Sengun came back down to earth a bit, as he had 19 points, 5 boards and just 1 assist on 8-for-17 shooting in what amounted to a relatively quiet night for him. Jabari Smith Jr. had 16 points and 9 boards on 6-for-13 from the field, but Houston’s young front court didn’t quite have the muscle to handle Minnesota’s front line. This was a bad matchup for the Rockets, but it also illustrated that Houston really could use another playable big man. A legit big man.
This game may have looked a little different with Eason and Brooks, as they could have slowed Edwards down some, who was the engine tonight for Minny, but the Wolves are 25-9 for a reason and we saw that tonight.
It’s worth noting that Fred VanVleet, who finished with 7 points and 8 assists, collided knees with Kyle Anderson in the fourth quarter. And while he left under his own power, it was clearly bothering him, and with the Rockets playing again tomorrow night against the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s something to keep an eye on.
Houston falls to 17-16 on the year with another tough matchup on the horizon.