Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves

James Harden leads his Houston Rockets into the City of Lakes to take on Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, February 13th at 8:00 PM EST at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. Broadcast is available on ESPN, Fox Sports North, and AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest; radio available via 830 WCCO and 790 AM.

How to Watch

Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN

When: Wednesday, February 13th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Fox Sports North, AT&T Sportsnet - Southwest | 830 WCCO, 790 AM

Houston Rockets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike D'Antoni {All-Time 607-493 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

The Houston Rockets are in a dog fight to reach the top four of the Western Conference. With a record of 32-23, the Rockets are a mere game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for fourth in the West.

Over the past ten games the Rockets have gone 6-4 with a point differential of +2.1. While the Rockets took an impressive win over the Toronto Raptors, they also lost disappointingly to the Thunder, Nuggets, and Sixers.

The Rockets' all-offence approach has hurt them against some of the top-tier teams in the league. With their lack of depth and defensive acumen, the Rockets need to score efficiently to put teams away. The Timberwolves aren't having a successful year, but they commit few turnovers and are dangerous on the offensive boards. The Rockets should be wary.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Home)

Head Coach: Ryan Saunders Interim {All-Time 6-9 | MIN}

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been a victim of their circumstances all season long. With a record of 25-30, the Timberwolves will need to put together an impressive run if they want to get back in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Over their last ten games the Timberwolves have accumulated a 4-6 record with a point differential of -0.2. After a 6-6 start for interim coach Ryan Saunders the Timberwolves have lost 4 three straight.

The Rockets are a dangerous offensive team from range and the Timberwolves have one of the worst perimeter defences in the NBA. ranking 28th in three-point percentage allowed, the Timberwolves will need to be more disciplined if they don't want to be run out of the gym by James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

What's At Stake?

In the all-time series the Houston Rockets have always held the edge over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 117 games, the Rockets lead the all-time series 76-41 over the Timberwolves.

Just a game back from the Trail Blazers in fourth place, a win for the Rockets would tie them for fourth in the West with Portland.

Eleventh in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves would not move in the table with a win or loss.

Questions to answer

Can the Rockets solve their rebounding woes?

Are the Wolves thinking of a rebuild?

We are going to compare the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Houston Needs to Win on the Glass

The Houston Rockets struggled in a recent loss to conference rival the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the Thunder are one of the top teams in the West, the Rockets failed to prove they can compete with them. All signs of their failure points to their inability to win the battle on the boards.

The Rockets were up in that game by 22 points at halftime, leading by a margin as wide as 26 points at one time. They went on to lose to the Thunder 117-112. Head Coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged their struggles:

"We're thinking 'What's wrong with our defense?' I can tell you what's wrong with our defense. We can't rebound."

The Houston Rockets truly maintain only three active players that can efficiently rebound the ball. PJ Tucker, Kenneth Faried, and Clint Capela - who is injured - are all strong, mobile players that can challenge opponents on the glass. D'Antoni is calling for a more focused team effort in hopes that they might be able to rectify their weaknesses.

The Wolves Are in a Tough Situation

The season has been filled with ups and downs for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins hasn't played to the level expected of him, Tom Thibodeau's departure, and of course the Jimmy Butler saga has left a terrible mark on the franchise.

On the other hand the Timberwolves have had some very promising signs. Karl-Anthony Towns was named an all-star for a second consecutive season, Josh Okogie seems a promising young player, and Derrick Rose has found new life with the Wolves.

Croatian media released a report that Dario Saric submitted a transfer request, which the Wolves denied. On top of that it seems the team is growing tired of Andrew Wiggins and are seeking a new future under a singular Karl-Anthony Towns. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach for the Wolves, don't be shocked to see their focus switch from competing to development.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

C Clint Capela - 18 Jan 2019 - Out (Right Thumb) - The Rockets announced that Capela had successful surgery on his right thumb. He's expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roster Notes

G Jerryd Bayless - 8 Feb 2019 - Day To Day (Toe) - Bayless did not play in Friday's game (Feb. 8) against the Pelicans.

F Robert Covington - 15 Jan 2019 - Out (Ankle) - Covington said he does not have a timetable for a return to action, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

G Tyus Jones - 8 Feb 2019 - Day To Day (Left Ankle Sprain) - Jones did not play in Friday's game (Feb. 8) against the Pelicans.

G Derrick Rose - 8 Feb 2019 - Day To Day (Ankle) - Rose did not play in Friday's game (Feb. 8) against the Pelicans.

Head-to-Head: Kenneth Faried (HOU) vs Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)

Kenneth Faried

Center | 6-8, 220lb (203cm, 99kg) | Morehead State | Exp. 7 Years

16.2 PPG | 1.1 APG | 10.4 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 1.1 BPG | 1.6 TOV | .630 FG% | .333 3P%

Karl-Anthony Towns

Center | 7-0, 248lb (213cm, 112kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 3 Years

23.1 PPG | 3.2 APG | 12.1 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.8 BPG | 2.9 TOV | .509 FG% | .385 3P%

These two centres are having career years while playing incredibly contrasting roles to each other. A singular post-scoring threat, Karl-Anthony Towns' performance for the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves has been rewarded with an All-Star appearance. On the other side of the court, Faried has experienced a career resurgence under Mike D'Antoni's high-octane offence.

After the NBA had seemingly passed him by, Kenneth Faried has found new life with the Houston Rockets. Perhaps the NBA asked too much of him, but in the realm of energy and rebounding Faried has few equals. With Capella out, Faried is running the screen and roll with Harden to perfection. His speed and athleticism will be tough for Towns to keep up with on the perimeter.

Karl-Anthony Towns has been a shining light in what has been a dismal season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Towns' production isn't at the level it was at the end of last season, the increase in offensive load for Towns with the departure of Butler had been handled with efficiency. He may not be in the post-season this year, but Towns is a threat to anyone attempting to stop him in the post or the perimeter.

Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Houston Rockets favoured over the Minnesota Timberwolves by 3, with an over/under of 109.

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