5 takeaways from Wolves-Rockets Game 3

Film-room breakdown How the Rockets continue to stifle Karl Anthony Towns Chris Paul steps

Film-room breakdown How the Rockets continue to stifle Karl Anthony Towns Chris Paul steps

The Timberwolves are all but dead if they fall behind 3-1 in the series so this is basically a must-win game for them. The longest shot is Minnesota in six at +3300. After all, this team would finish the 2017-18 campaign with the league's best record. The Rockets did it twice (1994 & '95). Get your 100% signup bonus today.

Rollver is 10x deposit + bonus. Can the Rockets tighten up on defense more like they played in Game 2?

The Over/Under (O/U) for the game opened at 219 points with Houston set as a 5.5-point favorite.

"We've got to do a better job of imposing our will at the beginning of the game", said James Harden, who led the Rockets with 29 points. However, despite two wins, the Rockets have been a little slow out of the gate in round 1. They followed that performance up with an equally thrilling one in their home playoff opener, beating the Houston Rockets in Game 3, 121-105. Meanwhile, the returning Ryan Anderson, who's missed the last three months with an ankle issue, was a minus-12. The Wolves closed the third quarter with a 26-14 run and produced spurts of 15-3 and 11-2 in the final period, perfecting their plan to play at a faster pace. As a team, the Rockets shot 45 percent from the field and 15 of 41 from the three-point line but they let themselves down defensively, particularly in the second half where they were outscored by 69-54.

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During the regular season, the Rockets lost by double digits only eight times. Along with free throw rate/percentage and offensive rebounding, a lack of turnovers is what drove the NBA's fourth-best offense in terms of offensive rating. Houston was 43-5 when scoring at least 110 this year and 22-12 when not.

If the Timberwolves can ride the energy of their home crowd - after all, the Target Center faithful will be enjoying their first home playoff game in almost 14 years - and avoid sloppy turnovers in the first quarter, they just might have a chance to steal Game 3.

Looking at the betting trends, the Rockets are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a loss, 0-5 ATS in their last five road games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.

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