Rockets Roll the Timberwolves:
The Houston Rockets have been arguably the best team in the league for the majority of the season and their status as contenders was confirmed last night. In order to keep pace with the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, the Rockets needed a win in Game 5. They were able to pull away from the Minnesota Timberwolves and win 122-104. James Harden had 24 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds. The Beard is the likely NBA MVP. Clint Capela had his best season (by far) to date and his 26 points and 15 rebounds in Game 5 should scare every other team in the league. When Capela is playing that well, this team goes to an entirely new level.
A level that the Warriors might not even be able to overcome. Chris Paul, who is trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in his storied career, had 12 points and nine assists in the win. Trevor Ariza added 16 points on 57.1 percent shooting from three-point range. The Timberwolves are now going home because of the road loss. But it was a successful season in Minnesota. The T-Wolves reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and actually stole a game against the mighty Rockets. Minnesota will go back to the drawing board and try to add another piece that will allow them to take the next step.
If Jimmy Butler wasn’t injured for part of the year then the Wolves may have been a top four seed. Houston will face either the Utah Jazz or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Rockets were 4-0 against the Jazz during the season and averaged 116 points per game. They were only 1-2 against the Thunder, putting up 110 points per game. Utah currently holds a 3-2 edge heading into Game 6 tomorrow night. Houston will have home court advantage no matter the opponent. The Rockets are attempting to get to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since losing to the Warriors in the 2014-15 campaign.
Photo Credit: USA Today.