Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The 1st of a 2-game set between the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves will begin Friday night at 8 pm EST at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves are favored by 3.5-points for this contest while the total stands at 226-points, up from 225.5 at the opening.

The Rockets were unable to win their 2nd-straight Wednesday night as they were defeated by 25-points at home versus the Charlotte Hornets. The team went down by only 3-points at the half only to be outscored 35-15 in the 3rd period en route to their 31st loss of the year. The defense gave up 51% shooting to the Hornets while also giving up a total of 18 3-pointers. On the other hand, Houston finished the game making just 38% of their shots while sinking 16 treys, albeit on 49 attempts. The Rockets failed to cover as 3.5-point favorites and are a miserable 2-8 ATS in their last 10 outings.

Minnesota dropped their 3rd-straight outing after their 20-point home defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night. After going into the half down just a point, the Timberwolves were outscored 72-53 in the 2nd-half losing their 34th of the year. The team gave up 16 3-pointers on the night while also being heavily outrebounded throughout by a margin of 52-37, including surrendering 14 offensive boards. Karl Anthony-Towns along with Anthony Edwards kept the team competitive with 22 and 29 points, respectively, while combining for 7 of the team’s 12 makes from deep. Minnesota failed to cover for the 3rd-straight game as 8-point dogs.

Houston will take the floor seeking their 5th-straight win over the Timberwolves, including their 3rd-straight at the Target Center. The Rockets are 6-4 ATS in the last 10 meetings while going 3-3 against the number in their last 6 roadies versus Minnesota.

Houston struggles yet again versus Hornets

Victor Oladipo along with Kevin Porter, Jr. each missed their 3rd-straight game for the Rockets as the former is currently tending to personal issues while Porter, Jr. is dealing with a quad injury as both are questionable for this contest as well. Without them in the lineup, the team has relied heavily on a visibly frustrated John Wall along with Christian Wood, who each had double-digits versus the Hornets. However, they combined to shoot 10-29 from the field while missing 10 of 13 shots from deep (0-5 for Wood).

Despite this, Wood recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, his 2nd double-double in 4 starts, while Danuel House, Jr. finished 4-7 FG for 10 points.

In all, Houston ranks as one of the worst offensive teams in the league posting just 107 points on 43% shooting (32% from long-range). In fact, they are averaging just 104 points in their last 7 outings. Nonetheless, the team has had some big offensive nights versus the Timberwolves of late posting at least 117 points in each of the last 4 meetings. Furthermore, the defense has been solid in recent matchups versus Minnesota as well as giving up just 113 points.

Beasley slated to return Saturday

Malik Beasley will end his 12-game suspension for an off-the-court incident this weekend and is likely to return to the court in the finale of this 2-game set Saturday night. His return will certainly be very much needed as he will provide some added offense to a team that is not only ranked near the bottom in just about every offensive category on the year, but is putting up only an average of just 107 points in their last 10 games, dropping 7 games during this time. They are currently in the cellar of the Northwest division a full 9-games behind the 4th-place Oklahoma City Thunder.

Anthony-Towns continues to keep this team competitive, however, averaging 28 points per game while racking up just under double-digit rebounds during this time. Important to note that the center has also held it down on the defensive end of the floor as well as racking up 9 blocks since the All-Star break. It should be mentioned that Anthony-Towns has also committed 28 turnovers during this time and has a total of 79 in 24 games this year.

Anthony Edwards is coming off a 29 point outing versus the Mavericks and has posted 20+ in 7 of his last 10 starts. On the other hand, he has been very inefficient from the field in 2020-21 shooting just 38% FG while connecting on just 31% of his shots from deep. D’Angelo Russell is not due back in the lineup until early April as he continues to heal from a leg injury.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

While Minnesota has struggled as often as the Rockets have this season, I have very little faith in the road team at this point in the season.  And with Wall noticeably becoming more and more frustrated with every game that is played, I see shorthanded Houston stinking it up throughout the 2nd-half of the season.  The road team has covered in only 3 of their last 11 roadies.

Minnesota Timberwolves -3.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

I see this contest as one that is slower-paced and low-scoring as each of these offenses are ranked as two of the worst in the league currently.  The under is 4-2 in the last 6 for the Rockets with the offense averaging just 104 points during this time while also being the play in 2 of the last 3 for the Timberwolves.  Furthermore, it has been the result in 3 of the last 5 meetings between these struggling squads.  In all, look for the under to be the strong play for this contest.

Under 226