Harden finished with 44 points and eight assists, carrying the Rockets to a 1-0 series lead. It's the first time a LeBron James-led team has dropped the opening game of the first round of the playoffs.
Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 21.3 points per contest this season while collecting an average of 12.3 boards per game. 1 seed, host the first two games of the series.
The Rockets were dominant in the regular season and won a franchise-high 65 games to finish top of the pile in the Western Conference. While the Game 1 loss was far more competitive than any of the team's four regular season meetings - which Houston swept convincingly - Sunday was an opportunity missed for Minnesota.
Timberwolves: Butler, who led the team by averaging 22.2 points in the regular season, finished with 13 points.
While Harden was on fire, the rest of the Rockets struggled from the three-point line. Andrew Wiggins is a stud for the games he shows up and plays focused.
Then Khris Middleton forced overtime with an absurd 3-pointer at the buzzer that barely got off his fingertips in time. In this picture, Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., December 29, 2017. At no point did Butler take over the game, finishing with 13 points. Towns had 12 rebounds and two assists. They shot 47.6 % from the field during the regular season (tied for the fourth-best shooting percentage of any team, only behind the Warriors, Pelicans and the Bucks) and are the second-best FT shooting team in the league, only behind the Warriors. Capela had 20 points and 10 rebounds at halftime, but was limited in the second half and added just four more points and two rebounds.
This is a common occurrence too with many teams around the National Basketball Association living with their bigs switching on guards in an attempt to deal with the vast number of pick-and-rolls that make up most offenses.
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