The Minnesota Timberwolves try to extend a three-game winning streak when they take on the Houston Rockets in a battle of Western Conference teams on Sunday night. The opening tip for this contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Center in Houston.
Minnesota is coming off a sweep of a home-and-home series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, including a road victory on Friday night. The Timberwolves improved to 19-20 and are third in the Northwest Division, one game behind the second-place Denver Nuggets.
The Rockets were routed at home by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, 130-106. Houston is 11-29 and in last place in the Southwest Division, 3½ games behind the fourth-place New Orleans Pelicans.
The NBA lines have made the Timberwolves seven-point favorites on the road for this game, with the over/under set at 230½ points if you want to make that bet online.
Still a Scorer
While he’s been playing a little more of a supporting role this season, Minnesota guard D’Angelo Russell can also fill it up with the best of them when he gets going. Russell is coming off a 27-point, 12-assist performance in a rout of Oklahoma City on Friday night in which he hit 11-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
“He’s always a dangerous player,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said after Friday’s win. “What I love about tonight — his shot selection was really good. He just shot it when he was open, and he just kept trusting it. He’s an outstanding shooter. One of the best ones in the league.”
Russell is third on the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game while pacing the club with 6.8 assists per contest.
Center Karl-Anthony Towns is the team leader in scoring (24.1 points), rebounding (9.3), and blocks (1.2), though he’s still working his way back into it after missing two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols. He’s averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and 2.5 blocks in his two games since returning.
Forward Anthony Edwards is averaging 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and a team-high 1.6 steals per contest. He had 29 points in the team’s previous meeting with the Rockets and has averaged 23.6 points over the last five games since returning from a COVID-19 protocol absence from the lineup.
The Rockets are having their struggles, and Friday night was the epitome of how bad it has gotten for the team. Playing against a Dallas team that didn’t have its top two players in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis or its head coach in Jason Kidd, Houston lost by 24 at home, falling behind by 20 after the first quarter and never seriously threatening.
Houston has lost 9 of 10 overall and is 7-11 at home. The team has also had the recent controversy of Kevin Porter Jr. leaving the arena at halftime of a game and Christian Wood reportedly refusing to re-enter a game.
Wood continues to be productive when he’s on the floor, pacing the Rockets with 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. But the big man is shooting just 47.7% from the floor and attempts nearly five 3-pointers per game.
Rookie guard Jalen Green has been up and down. He’s averaging 15.5 points, but his last four games tell the story of his consistency or lack thereof. In two of the last four games, he’s scored 22 and 29 points, but in the other two games, he’s scored just 12 in each, alternating between good and bad nights.
Porter is back with the team, but he has not been very productive of late. In his last four games, he’s averaging 8.7 points and 3.0 turnovers. On the season, he’s averaging 12.5 points, but if Houston is going to be more successful on the court, it needs more from Porter.
Minnesota is getting healthy and playing well as a team of late. The Timberwolves should be able to take advantage of the dysfunctional Rockets and cruise to an easy win on the road.
When you’re doing your NBA betting, take the Timberwolves to win and cover on the road.