Skip to content

Love puts up a big line, but balanced Rockets keep rolling to sixth straight win

Feb 11, 2014, 1:30 AM EST

Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

Just before the All-Star break and a celebration of the game’s biggest names we bring you this reminder:

Basketball is still a team game.

The Timberwolves’ Kevin Love was the best scorer on the floor Monday night when Houston came to Minnesota. With no Kevin Martin (thumb) and no Nikola Pekovic it puts a lot more on Love’s plate and he was trying, knocking down midrange jumpers (5-of-8 from there), attacking and getting to the line (12-of-12 from there) and he ended up with 31 points.

However the Rockets were the better team — all five starters had at least 14 points and at least 11 shots (a sign of balance). They were moving the ball which led to hitting Patrick Beverly for open threes (4-of-8) or Dwight Howard as he was rim running. The result was an eFG% of 54.3 percent for the Rockets compared to 39 percent for the Timberwolves. Another reminder: if you shoot the ball better you usually win.

The Rockets did win, 107-89, their sixth straight victory. This was the Timberwolves fourth straight loss.

Houston had made this recent run thanks to their offense, which had averaged 114 points per 100 possessions in the previous five wins, and they had a good but not as great 107.2 points per 100 Monday night.

But they used some timely defense and bad shooting by Minnesota to hold the Timberwolves to 91.5. The problem for the Timberwolves was the missed shots, their poor floor balance off those misses, and a few turnovers led to some easy buckets for the Rockets going the other way. Minnesota could never make up that ground.

Minnesota was packing it in early on Dwight Howard but the Rockets still had 18 more points in the paint. Houston would have actually likely blown this game open in the second quarter had it not been for the fact they had turnovers on 19 percent of their possessions on the night — the sloppy turnovers killed their runs and kept Minnesota hanging around.

Until the start of the fourth, when the Rockets went on an 11-0 run to pull away for good. They got eight points from Chandler Parsons in that quarter, he finished with a team high 20, and Howard had four of his 18 points in the final frame (he finished with 15 rebounds, too). Patrick Beverly brought some defensive energy and that helped launch team fourth quarter, making a couple blocks on Alexey Shved, which became transition buckets for the Rockets.

These are two teams headed in opposite directions right now, and for a Minnesota team now 7 games out of the playoffs in the West it should lead to a little soul searching.

Latest Posts
  1. It’s official: Zach LaVine, Greek Freak Antetokounmpo headline All-Star Dunk Contest

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:23 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    The best news may be the return to the classic dunk contest format.

  2. LaMarcus Aldridge says he’s back for rest of season

    Jan 27, 2015, 6:50 PM EST

    LaMarcus Aldridge AP

    Barring any setbacks with hand injury

  3. Paul Pierce on why trash talk is down in league: NBA2K

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:15 PM EST

    NBA 2K15 promo

    My gaming experience suggests you talk a lot of trash to the guy next to you.

  4. Wisconsin Governor plans for $220 million in state bonds to help pay for new Milwaukee arena

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    Scott Walker Getty Images

    It essentially uses increased jock tax revenue to pay off the bonds.

  5. Iman Shumpert mocks his own failed crossover (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:40 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Shumpert dribbled it off his foot against the Thunder, then tweeted the clip.

  6. Lakers’ players trying to adjust to Byron Scott’s random rotations

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:55 PM EST

    Byron Scott AP

    Players like a routine, a rhythm to games, and the Lakers are chaos theory.

  7. Kobe Bryant uses Super Bowl analogy to describe how he feels about season-ending injury

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    This is the third consecutive year Bryant has had his season prematurely ended due to injury.

  8. Nets coach Lionel Hollins calls idea he doesn’t like advanced stats ‘dumbest thing I’ve ever heard’

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:50 AM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three Getty Images

    Hollins was reportedly not brought back in Memphis because of an aversion to the use of advanced statistics.

  9. UPDATE: Knicks, Langston Galloway agree to contract for this season and next

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:10 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptzmzwflzdg4ntbmzwflndvmowjizjg2oti2nmy3ztk5-e1422370631910

    New York doesn’t want to offer Galloway any guaranteed money for next season.

  10. Brian Shaw upset with officiating after not getting a call late in loss to Clippers

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    Brian Shaw AP

    Matt Barnes intentionally fouled Danilo Gallinari late, and Shaw believes free throws should have been awarded.

  11. How Nicki Minaj helped John Wall become an All-Star starter

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    106 & Park Getty Images

    She tweeted out a vote for him, and she has 18.8 million followers.

  12. DeAndre Jordan threw a block party and the Nuggets were invited (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Hawes, Alex Len AP

    Then he finishes it off with a dunk of his own.

Featured video

Stephen Curry leads NBA MVP race mid-season
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (8376)
  2. H. Whiteside (7698)
  3. L. Aldridge (7497)
  4. R. Rubio (7077)
  5. K. Martin (6877)
  1. K. Walker (6638)
  2. N. Batum (6427)
  3. J. Noah (6401)
  4. C. Anthony (6248)
  5. T. Jones (6002)