Minnesota needed all 82 games this season to end their 14-year playoff drought. Houston was essentially in the playoffs by Valentine’s Day. These two collide in Game 1 Sunday at 9:05 EDT on TNT.
We will find out right away about the state of mind of the West’s top-seed Houston and No. 8 Minnesota in the series-opening encounter. The NBA odds have the Rockets as an 11.5-point favorite for Game 1 and if they want to sweep the Timberwolves, they play with a purpose and set the tone for the series. At the same time, we will learn if the T-Wolves are just happy to make the postseason or if they expect to do damage and make this a series and go toe to toe with Houston.
The Rockets are the largest series favorite at Bovada at -2100 (you wager that amount to win $100), with Minnesota a +975 choice. Here is the scoop on both teams.
There was considerable consternation about Chris Paul and James Harden working out as teammates. But like all teams that assembled with multiple superstars, each has to give up a part of their game in order to make the team better, which is what they did.
As remarkable as this was, especially by Harden, what transformed Houston into a legitimate NBA-caliber champion was a dramatic improvement on defense. Here is what we mean.
Last year the Rockets were 21st in field goal percentage allowed and they climbed all the way to 6th this season. Their defensive efficiency also saw an incredible improvement, moving from 15th is sixth during this campaign.