Rockets 104, Timberwolves 101: Missed Opportunity
/ Timberwolves

By DrewMahowald

Nobody has really expected the eighth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves to knock off the top-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of these Western Conference playoffs.

Houston is coming off a 60-win regular season paced by a high-octane, modern offense built on shooting almost exclusively threes and layups. Over 42 percent of Houston’s shot attempts in the regular season were threes, which ranked tops in the NBA. The Rockets were last in mid-range shot attempt percentage.

So when the Rockets went 10-for-37 from three-point range in Game 1, it presented a glowing opportunity for the Wolves to steal a game and gain an early advantage in their first playoff series in the last 14 years.

Minnesota was able to hang tough for most of the game, especially after the Wolves’ big men figured out how to contain Clint Capela. He put up 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone, giving Karl-Anthony Towns all kinds of fits. Capela, however, only finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, though several of those points were second chance points gained on five offensive rebounds.

Towns’ incapability to find a rhythm was one of the deciding factors of Game 1. He was dominated early in the paint, mostly by Capela, and played timidly for most of the remainder of the game. It also didn’t help that his teammates ignored him when a smaller player was switched onto him — something that will need to be adjusted in Game...

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