Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves Preview

By Michael Ma

Mar 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) controls the ball during the fourth quarter as Minnesota Timberwolves point guard J.J. Barea (11) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Keys to the game for the Houston Rockets as they return home and look to bounce back from their devastating loss in Dallas to face the Minnesota Timberwolves (8-6):

48 Minutes

It’s been a struggle so far in the early season for the Rockets to close games out in the 4th quarter while holding on to a double-digit lead. Wednesday loss to the Mavericks was no different as the Rockets were outscored in the 4th quarter, 36-19. Chandler Parsons stated that maintaining consistency in 2nd half is what needs to be worked on, but it’s easier said than done.

“When we have leads we have to extend them.  We keep putting ourselves in these situations where get the leads and then we keep letting teams hit shots and we don’t get stops.  We have to figure out a way to maintain a lead and keep growing a lead instead of letting them hit shots and going away from what works for us.”

Cleaning The Boards

While the Rockets have slipped to no. 4 in the NBA in rebounds per game at 46.2, the Wolves are right behind them, at no. 6, averaging 45.4 rebounds. With Kevin Love regaining his automatic double-double form he had before injuries sidelined him last season, as well as center Nikola Pekovic, the battle on the boards will become a huge factor as to which team comes out on top.

Minnesota is also 8th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game, and the Rockets are tied with the Denver Nuggets in allowing the most 2nd-chance points. Dwight Howard must box out and control the paint, and Omer Asik could have a big impact as well, depending on how many minutes he will get.

Handle The Ball

Not only do the Rockets lead the league in turnovers(18.7 per game), they’re also 3rd in giving up the most points off turnovers. Ricky Rubio leads in the NBA in steals, and the Wolves are 7th in points off turnovers.

Tip: 7:00 PM CST

TV: CSN Houston