Sunday, 19 August, 2018

NBA Playoffs 2018: Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves Game 2

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks defends Al Horford of the Boston Celtics Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks defends Al Horford of the Boston Celtics
Shannon Reynolds | 19 April, 2018, 12:30

Game 2 went far worse for Towns going 2-for-9 from the field for just five points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes. They combined to make 3 of 20 3-point attempts.

"It's the reverse, right?"

"I think we all have to be better, including myself", he said.

Game 3 is Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Chris Paul rebounded from a ragged Game 1 while Gerald Green provided a boost of energy off the bench as the Houston Rockets rolled to a 102-82 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday in Game 2 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series. Harden followed with a driving bank shot off the glass, a layup and a pair of 3-pointers to push the Rockets to a 97-88 lead. A 28-5 run was fueled as well by Green's three-point shooting and a defense that left the Wolves reeling.

Towns said he can't be frustrated with how the first two games have gone for him. "Somebody's going to catch fire, you hope".

"Let's not get it confused", Butler said.

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After James Harden bailed out Houston in Game 1 with 44 points, this time it was Chris Paul who led the way. Houston themselves turned it over a similar number of times - 11 to be precise - but conceded a solitary point from these turnovers.

"It was better with Harden", Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said, "but it wasn't better with Paul". Butler scored just 13 points and will no doubt get better as he continues to work his way back from injury, while Towns had just eight points. Those numbers inspired TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to call the Wolves "one of the dumbest teams I've ever seen" because they didn't exploit mismatches when the Rockets switched defenders on every screen. Clint Capela is a big enough body to make things hard for Karl-Anthony Towns and force him to stay connected on the defensive end, while P.J. Tucker should be able to defend Jimmy Butler and keep him from taking over offensively. Andrew Wiggins had 13 points while Towns, fresh off a nine-point effort in Game 1, scored just five points and took only nine shots for a second consecutive contest. Most of those shots were outside of the paint, and he missed his last seven. Also sitting courtside was rapper Lil' Wayne, who received a loud ovation when he was introduced on the Jumbotron in the fourth quarter. Harden also got inside with relative ease, scoring 14 paint points during the game.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Thunder Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but he left in the second half with left foot soreness. Ain't no time for negativity and no time for frustration.

"The flow of the game tells us what to do".

The Wolves still led 25-18 in the second quarter's opening moments before the Rockets reversed course and scored 28 of the next 33 points.

Aside from Paul and Green, the Rockets scuffled offensively, with their defense carrying them to victory.

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