Harden scores 44 as Rockets edge Wolves

BC-BKN--Timberwolves-Rockets

Post Up: Celtics, Pacers, Thunder and Rockets Pick Up Wins

All 22 of the experts peg the Rockets to win the series, and a whopping 10 of them think Houston will complete a four-game sweep.

Houston overall finished the game shooting under 30 percent from deep. Winning Game 1 would shift the narrative in the series and put the pressure on Houston. Tucker made a 3 for the Rockets after that, but Minnesota used a 6-1 spurt, with 3s from Wiggins and Teague, to go back on top 62-58.

The likely 2017-18 Most Valuable Player torched Minnesota down the stretch. With AP Photos.James Harden scored 44 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series. Outside of Clint Capela, there isn't anyone in Houston's regular rotation that would be able to slow down Towns, or even Taj Gibson for that matter. The Rockets' young big man tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds over the first 24 minutes.

While the Rockets fire three pointers from every position on the court, Minnesota counters with center Karl-Anthony Towns and All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

The Minnesota Timberwolves played about as well defensively as they could have hoped in Game 1 against the Houston Rockets and it still wasn't enough. Butler is now 0 for 12 this season in the final 10 seconds when the Wolves are tied or losing by three or less.

BC-BKN--Timberwolves-Rockets
5 takeaways from Timberwolves-Rockets Game 1

That Houston team was led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley, and the Wolves featured Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Tom Gugliotta.

Rose, who scored 16 points, looked like Minnesota's best player for much of the night.

It's tough to see Houston shooting as poorly as it did Sunday at any points through the remainder of the series, and the Wolves still couldn't take advantage.

Houston and James Harden are the best regular season team in the National Basketball Association (and very possibly just the best team in the National Basketball Association, period).

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