The Minnesota Timberwolves are back at the Target Center following the Holidays and will be looking to extend their hot streak at TC with a win over the Houston Rockets. Doing so would push the Wolves' consecutive win total to six games at the Target Center and would be the longest such streak for the Wolves since the 2003-04 season, when those Wolves rattled off 14-straight victories in front of the Minnesota faithful.
It'll be no easy task however, as the Wolves are facing the red-hot Houston Rockets, who are looking for their fifth-straight win.
The TWolves had great success vs. the Rockets in 2011-12, winning the season series with a 3-0 sweep. However, that doesn't mean much this season as it's (basically) an entirely new Rockets squad. Houston's busy offseason of trades and draft picks along with the James Harden trade that happened just prior to opening day, has radically transformed this roster. It was assumed they'd be a cellar-dwelling team this season, however that hasn't been the case as they're now 15-12 through the first third of the season.
Gone is Kyle Lowry (Toronto), Kevin Martin (Oklahoma City), Luis Scola (Phoenix), Chase Budinger (Minnesota), Samuel Dalembert (Milwaukee) and Marcus Camby (New York). All of these players were starters for the Rockets at some point last season and now they're all playing for other teams. The only returning starter for Houston this season is Chandler Parsons.
The TWolves are 13-12 on the season and have certainly had their ups and downs through the first third of the 2012-13 season. Through it all, they have defended their home court quite well, amassing an 8-3 record. Minnesota is 6-4 in their last ten games and losers of three of their last four games. The Rockets, as stated before are 15-12 on the year, 4-7 on the road and also 6-4 in their last ten games. They have rattled off four-consecutive W's, too.
Let's take a look at the injury report for this one...
MINNESOTA: I'm going to direct you to our injury report homepage, where you can always find the up-to-date injury news on your Minnesota Timberwolves: Injury Report.
HOUSTON: Patrick Patterson (OUT/knee) he's unlikely to return this week, though he has 'stepped up' his on-court rehab. Royce White (OUT/personal) he has yet to play a game in the NBA, though it sounds as though he'll begin working with a Houston staff member this week. Chandler Parsons (game-time decision/knee) he left Tuesday's win over the Bulls with swelling in his right knee, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to play tonight in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off a three-point loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday (12/23) at Madison Square Garden. There were some very questionable 'calls'/'no calls' in the final minutes. Carmelo scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter (boosted by some calls from the refs thanks to his superstar status). Yes, I'm still a bit bitter. Pekovic scored 21pts and added a career-high 17 rebounds as well as 2 assists; Alexey Shved added 18pts, 5reb, 4ast, 1stl and Dante Cunningham came off the bench for his second double-double of the season: 12pts, 10reb, 1ast, 1stl.
The Houston Rockets are coming off a 120-97 Christmas Day victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Houston led 58-41 at halftime, the Bulls were able to cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter to make it 85-100, but a 6-0 run by the Rockets halted the Bulls' rally and ultimately sealed a big win for the Houston Rockets. James Harden finished with 26pts, 5reb, 6ast, 2stls, 1blk; Chandler Parsons had 23pts, 5reb, 2ast, 2stls; Jeremy Lin added 20pts, 1reb, 11ast, 1stl, 1blk and former-Bull Omer Asik had a big night, finishing with 20pts, 18reb, 1ast and 3blks.
Each of those 20-point scorers for the Rockets played right around 35 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Bulls. Tonight will obviously be a back-to-back game for the Rockets, considering their best players played big minutes last night, hopefully the Wolves can use that to their advantage in the second half of tonight's game.
Let's take a look at the probable starters for this one...
If Chandler Parsons is held out of this one because of swelling in his right knee, the Rockets are likely to start Carlos Delfino (8.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 0.9spg) at small forward in this one. Ricky Rubio still isn't a part of the starting lineup, however it's sounding as though that 18-minute limit will be increased--by how much, remains to be seen. Just don't expect Ricky to be playing 40 minutes a night in the near future.
In order to defeat the Rockets, here's what we need to do...
That's all for now, tipoff for this one is set from 7pmCT and a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!