The Houston Rockets (44-13) welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves (36-25) to Toyota Center. The Rockets will attempt to lengthen their 10-game winning streak. Houston opened as an 8.5-point favorite, while the game’s Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 226 points. Action starts at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, February 23, 2018, and it can be seen on ESPN.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets Free Preview
The Timberwolves defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in their last matchup, 119-111. Taj Gibson was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting. Minnesota played a nearly perfect game. They had a fantastic free throw rate of 0.322 (above their season average of 0.227) and a turnover percentage of 8.8 (better than their season average of 10.9). Los Angeles had marks of 0.191 and 11.0, respectively, for those same stats.
In the Rockets’ last game, they topped the Sacramento Kings, 100-91. Houston was lifted by James Harden, who was the top scorer from either team with 28 points on 7-for-19 shooting. The Rockets made 20 of their 22 free throws (90.9 percent), while the Kings had a turnover percentage of 15.8 (above their season average of 12.8).
The prolific offense of Houston will face off against the bottom-tier defense of Minnesota. The Rockets currently rank second in offensive efficiency, while the Timberwolves are 25th in defensive efficiency. The Rockets should have the advantage on that end of the court. Also, the Timberwolves rank fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (24.8 percent), while the Rockets rank second in defensive rebounding percentage (81.2 percent).
Of Minnesota’s 61 games, 33 have finished over the O/U total, while 29 of Houston’s 57 games have finished under the projected point total. The Rockets have the superior straight up (SU) record (44-13 vs. 36-25) and a narrow edge against the spread (ATS) (28-28-1 vs. 28-30-3).
Clint Capela has been playing at a high level over the last five games for Houston, averaging 16.8 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
These two teams have already met twice this year, with the Rockets winning both. In the most recent contest, the Timberwolves lost 126-108, unable to cover as 3-point underdogs. Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 35 points and also recorded 12 rebounds. The two teams combined to score 234 points, which was 10 points above the projected point total of 224 points. The Rockets played a nearly perfect game. They had an extraordinarily low turnover percentage of 5.9 and an absurd effective field goal percentage of 0.627. The Timberwolves recorded marks of 7.8 and 0.512, respectively, for those same stats.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets Free Prediction
NBA Tip: SU Winner – Rockets, ATS Winner – Timberwolves, O/U – Over
- The Timberwolves rank fourth in points off turnovers per game (18.2) while the Rockets rank 15th in points off turnovers allowed per game (16.1).
- Minnesota ranks 12th in assists per game (22.9) while Houston ranks 16th in assists allowed per game (23.1).
- Houston ranks 16th in fast break points per game (10.9) while Minnesota ranks 25th (9.6).
- Minnesota is 13-15-2 ATS on the road, while Houston is 11-17-1 ATS at home.
- The total has gone over in 16 of the Timberwolves’ 30 road games, while 16 of the Rockets’ 29 home games have gone over.
- Houston is 20-2 when they hold opponents under 100 points, while Minnesota is 16-4.
- The Rockets are 43-10 when they score above 100 points, while the Timberwolves are 34-16.
- The Timberwolves rank first in steals allowed per game (6.3) while the Rockets rank ninth (7.4).
- Houston ranks first in three pointers attempted per game (42.8) while Minnesota ranks 28th (22.2).
- The Timberwolves average 48.3 points in the paint per game, which ranks sixth in the league. The Rockets rank 27th in points allowed in the paint per game (47.6).
- The Rockets allow the second-fewest rebounds per game (41.4) while the Timberwolves rank third (41.4).
- Minnesota ranks third in second chance points per game (14.3) while Houston ranks 21st (11.6).
- Houston is 3-2 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Minnesota is 0-5 ATS with 5 overs.
- The Rockets’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 13.6, up from 8.7 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Timberwolves have scored an average of 117.8 points per game (8.1 above their season average) and allowed an average of 119.4 points per game (12.6 above their season average).