The Houston Rockets didn’t have too many problems in the opener
to their longest homestand of the season. The injury-plagued and
last-place Minnesota Timberwolves are set to visit next, though
they’ve dominated the recent series between the clubs.
The Rockets try to avoid a fifth loss in six matchups and fourth
in a row at home to the Timberwolves on Friday night.
Houston (35-30) followed up a 1-2 road trip with a 111-81 rout
of Phoenix on Wednesday. Rookie forward Donatas Motiejunas scored a
career-high 19 points to lead six Rockets in double figures and the
team’s 10 3-pointers gave them double digits in all six games this
“We were moving the ball, sharing the ball,” point guard Jeremy
Lin said. “You could look across (the statistics) and see we had
great distribution among the scoring. That’s usually a great sign
of transition buckets, as well as sharing the ball
The win helped the Rockets, seventh in the Western Conference,
move two games ahead of ninth-place Utah. Houston will try to pad
that advantage during a seven-game stretch at home, where it’s won
seven of eight.
The Rockets’ next opponent has dropped 14 of 15 on the road and
is 6-25 there overall. Minnesota, however, has looked anything like
a bad team in its recent matchups with Houston.
The Timberwolves recorded a 92-79 home victory over the Rockets
on Jan. 19 despite the absence of seven players due to injury and
illness. Minnesota’s leader with 21 points in that game, Andrei
Kirilenko, is dealing with a strained calf it’s uncertain whether
he’ll play Friday.
The status of center Nikola Pekovic is also unclear while star
forward Kevin Love and former Rockets swingman Chase Budinger are
also expected to continue lengthy absences.
Pekovic had 30 points and 12 rebounds in the teams’ last meeting
in Houston, a 111-98 Wolves victory Feb. 17, 2012. Minnesota has
averaged 114.3 points in its three consecutive victories at
After a stunning 107-83 blowout of Western Conference-leading
San Antonio on Tuesday, Minnesota couldn’t follow with another
victory the next day, falling 107-91 at Indiana. Ricky Rubio scored
21 points for the second straight game, matching a season high, and
had 10 assists.
“We played hard. We just didn’t have enough. We ran out of gas
in the second half, but they competed,” coach Rick Adelman
Houston’s James Harden made two baskets in the final 40 seconds
and had 17 of his team-best 30 points in the fourth quarter of an
87-84 road victory over Minnesota on Dec. 26.
Harden made 11 of 22 shots in that game, but missed 13 of 18 and
scored 18 points in the January matchup.