Feb 10, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) against the Houston Rockets at Target Center. The Rockets defeated the Timberwolves 107-89. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Houston Rockets v.s. Minnesota Timberwolves


The Minnesota Timberwolves (34-32) will come into Toyota Center tonight to face off against the Houston Rockets (45-22). The Rockets are coming off of a much-needed win against the Utah Jazz, while the T-Wolves are going to be in the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Mavericks in an overtime thriller 123-122. While fans had high hopes for this Timberwolves team, the club just hasn’t put it all together. The Rockets will need to put their foot on the gas to put away another middle-of-the-pack team. Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:00 PM and can be seen on CSN Houston.

 

The Matchups

Point Guard: Patrick Beverley v.s. Ricky Rubio

Rubio may be the most interesting point guard in the Western Conference. He’s coming off of a triple-double against the Mavericks last night, where he had 22 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals. However, while his basketball IQ is immense, his field-goal percentage is a measly 37%. Look for Beverley to drop that number even lower, as Rubio shot 2-10 in the previous matchup. Even so, Rubio is still a candidate for plenty of assists and steals as evidenced by his performance last night. Against a turnover-prone Rockets team, he could thrive.

Edge: Timberwolves

 

Shooting Guard: James Harden v.s. Kevin Martin

Martin didn’t play last time these teams squared off, but given Martin’s 3-point shooting and ability to draw fouls, Harden will need to put forth some effort on the defensive end. However, Harden is the best 2-guard in the league. He’s been on fire as of late, and Martin isn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess.

Edge: Rockets

 

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons v.s. Corey Brewer

Brewer is averaging 11 points per game, and doesn’t give much in the way of rebounds and assists. He is capable of getting hot, but  Parsons is the clear-cut favorite here. Look for Parsons to get his shooting touch back tonight.

Edge: Rockets

 

Power Forward: Terrence Jones v.s. Kevin Love

Love is the best power forward in the game right now (Anthony Davis will have something to say about that soon). He had 31 points and 10 rebounds in the last game against the Rockets, and it can be expected that Kevin McHale will try to throw different looks at Love on defense in hopes of containing him.

Edge: Timberwolves

 

Center: Omer Asik v.s. Gorgui Dieng

With Howard out, it will be Asik replacing him in the starting lineup. In his last start, Asik posted a double-double, and while he looked a little behind on offense, he will be facing Minnesota’s backup center. Look for very little offense to be run through either of the centers in tonight’s matchup.

Edge: Rockets

 

Bench:

Rockets – Dwight HowardFrancisco GarciaJordan HamiltonJeremy LinDonatas Motiejunas

Timberwolves – Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger, JJ Barea, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

Edge: Rockets

 

Injuries:

Rockets – Greg Smith (OUT), Dwight Howard (OUT)

Timberwolves – Nikola Pekovic (DOUBTFUL) and Ronny Turiaf (OUT)

 

Prediction - The Rockets are putting away mediocre teams. Minnesota is a mediocre team. Rockets win 118-105.

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