Minnesota Timberwolves (36-25; 28-31-2 ATS; 33-27 O/U) vs. Houston Rockets (44-13; 28-28-1 ATS; 26-30 O/U)
The red-hot Houston Rockets will host the Minnesota Timberwolves in a Western Conference clash Friday evening from the Toyota Center. The Timberwolves notched a 119-111 home win over the Lakers in their previous action, and the Rockets tallied a 100-91 home win against Sacramento in their last game before the break. Houston has took both meetings this season, winning 116-98 and 126-108.
Timberwolves In Good Shape in Standings
The Minnesota Timberwolves head back from the break holding onto fourth place in the Western Conference with the third place Spurs in their sights. They rallied for 35 points in the fourth quarter in their 119-111 home win against the Lakers in their final game before the break. Timberwolves’ leading scorer Jimmy Butler went 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in that one, however he did mange to finish with 24 points. The 28-year old shooting guard is averaging a solid 27 points this month, and he is up to 22.4 points on 47.6% shooting on the season. Butler has tallied 23 and 15 points in two games against the Rockets this season. Karl-Anthony Towns tallied his NBA-leading 51st double-double of the season by scoring 10 points with 18 boards in the T-Wolves’ previous action. The 22-year old center owns a 60% field goal percentage this month, and is currently averaging 20.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
The Timberwolves own a 5-5 record in their last ten games and they are struggling on the road, losing six consecutive road games to fall to 12-18 away from home on the season. Minnesota continues to excel offensively, averaging 109.7 points per game, good for sixth in the NBA. They are allowing an average of 106.8 points, placing them 19th in the NBA.
Red-Hot Rockets Riding 10 Game Winning Streak
The Houston Rockets return from the break as one of the hottest teams in the entire NBA, currently riding a ten game winning streak. They recorded a 100-91 home win against Sacramento in their previous action last Wednesday. Rockets’ leading scorer James Harden led the way offensively with a 28-point effort along with nine rebounds in the winning effort. The 28-year old superstar is having a career-year, posting an NBA-leading 31.3 points and ranks second in the NBA with nine assists per game. Harden is averaging 21.8 points in 30 career games against the Timberwolves. Chris Paul chipped in with 19 points and seven assists in the Rockets’ latest contest. The 12-year veteran point guard features a 51.4% field goal efficiency this month, and is currently averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 assists per game.
The Rockets hold a half game lead over the Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference heading into Thursday’s action. The Rockets have won nine straight at home to improve to 23-6 on their home court on the season. Houston ranks second in the entire NBA with an average of 114.1 points per game. They are conceding an average of 105.4 points, positioning them 12th overall.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 100 points in their previous game.
The Houston Rockets are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record.
- 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games playing on three or more days of rest.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against the Northwest division.
I am going with the Rockets in this contest. Houston has defeated the Timberwolves by 18 points in both meetings this season, and they should notch another decisive win again in this one. Houston has won 10 straight and they scored 126 points in Minnesota a few weeks ago, so their powerhouse offense should have another big night. Minnesota is not a strong defensive team, as opponents are shooting 47.8% against them this season, and they have allowed at least 110 points in four out of their last five games.
Pick: Houston Rockets
The Rockets and Timberwolves both continue to pour on the points. Minnesota ranks fourth in the NBA with a 48% field goal percentage and they should have a productive night against a Rockets defense that will give up points, plus the over is 6-0 in their last six games after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. Houston was able to score 126 points in Minnesota earlier this month, and they should have no problem scoring points against a shaky Timberwolves defense, plus the over is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings between these two teams.