Harden finished with 44 points and eight assists, carrying the Rockets to a 1-0 series lead.
Ahead of the highly anticipated first round clash between Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, let us take an in-depth look at how both teams stack up. Not only are they one of only two teams to make over 1,000 threes this season but they have made nearly twice as many threes per game as the Timberwolves have.
That being said, they have the toughest first round matchup in the National Basketball Association playoffs and the odds of them beating Houston four times in seven chances aren't great.
The eighth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road as they face the top-seeded Houston Rockets Sunday night.
Ryan Anderson, who averaged 12 points and shot 50 percent from the 3-point line in four games against the Wolves, is likely out with an ankle injury. Unlike the Rockets, they had to wait until the last day of regular season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. At no point did Butler take over the game, finishing with 13 points.
For the Timberwolves Andrew Wiggins led the way with 18 points, with Derrick Rose (16) and Jamal Crawford (15) pitching in off the bench.
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Jeff Teague ended Minnesota's scoring drought with two free throws after the timeout and added a 3-point play after a basket by Harden.
Then Khris Middleton forced overtime with an absurd 3-pointer at the buzzer that barely got off his fingertips in time.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden is bound for the first MVP award of his career this season. Towns had 12 rebounds and two assists.
Defensively, he's going to have to play the series of his life handling Paul and Harden off the pick and roll and guarding against the lob when the Rockets' guards penetrate. 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.
This is Towns' first time playing in the playoffs so he'll have to get used to a more intense game and playing on a bigger stage than he's ever seen.