D'Antoni, Harden: Rockets lack rhythm, in rut

D'Antoni, Harden: Rockets lack rhythm, in rut

For the first time in franchise history, the Rockets (65-17) secured 60-plus wins and the best record in the National Basketball Association. Houston has now lost its past nine playoff games when the opponents shoots at least 50 per cent.

Against a Rockets team that has been creative in the way it switches on defense and brings extra defensive help, the Wolves struggled a bit while losing the first two games. James Harden led the team with 29 points with seven rebounds and seven assists, Chris Paul added 17 points with six assists before fouling out while Eric Gordon chipped in with 15 points off the bench.

Down 2-1, the Timberwolves are +600 on the Sports Interaction series line with Houston at -2000.

Harden carried the Rockets in Game 1 with a 44-point, eight-assist performance while Paul had an off game, scoring 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting and matching his career playoff high with six turnovers. The Wolves made only 13 3-pointers in Games 1 and 2 combined.

As we look at the important takeaways from Game 3, we will consider how much of what the Wolves did well is repeatable, and how much is bound to regress.

NBA playoffs live: Can the Thunder tune out the Jazz and get rolling?

Timberwolves Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague answer the media after the game.

But it might have been Rose that got the Target Center most excited, showing burst and athleticism not often seen since his knees started failing him en route to 17 points in just 21 minutes off the bench. Clint Capela, who was big in the first two games, finished with seven points and 11 rebounds. The Rockets will need Gordon - or another breakout performance from Gerald Green - in order to reclaim control of this series.

Minnesota dug itself a 2-0 series hole as they couldn't come up with the critical plays in Game 1 and couldn't buy a bucket in Game 2. Hopeful MVP, James Harden, made the same amount of shots in the 4th quarter as Rose, only 3 shots.

In other words, forget winning the series, historically, the Thunder have been eliminated in five games in each of the instances in which they've fallen into that hole.

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