Minnesota At Houston
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Saturday, February 25, 2017
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
The Minnesota Timberwolves ended an eight-game skid against Houston in their last meeting and look to notch another victory when they visit the Rockets on Saturday. Point guard Ricky Rubio was at the top of his game in the 119-105 win on Jan. 11 by dishing out a club-record 17 assists.
Houston has won five of its past six games and resumed play after the All-Star break with a 129-99 shellacking of the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday that raised the team's level of confidence. "We want to play our best basketball ending this season," forward Ryan Anderson told reporters. "The next 23 games, we want to play our best basketball coming into the playoffs so we can really build momentum. Our goal is to win a championship. We're confident we can beat anybody, and we've proven we can beat anybody." Minnesota craves a run at the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and sits three games behind the eighth-place Denver Nuggets. Small forward Andrew Wiggins looks primed for a playoff push as his 27-point effort in Friday's 97-84 victory over the Dallas Mavericks marked his 16th consecutive 20-point outing, tying the franchise record held by Kevin Garnett (accomplished twice).
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), ROOT (Houston)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (23-35): Minnesota turned down a deadline-trade offer from the New York Knicks in which Derrick Rose would have landed with the Timberwolves in exchange for Rubio. The decision to keep Rubio looked like a good one when he had 13 points and 14 assists on Friday and the floor leader has handed out more than 10 assists in five of the past seven games. Second-year center Karl-Anthony Towns recorded 26 points and 18 rebounds against Dallas and boasts 13 straight games of 20 points - averaging 28.3 during the stretch.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (41-18): Houston acquired backup sharpshooter Lou Williams from the Los Angeles Lakers prior to Thursday's trading deadline and he was scintillating in his debut with 27 points and seven 3-pointers. Williams further fortifies a bench led by guard Eric Gordon and his skill-set also is a fit with do-everything point guard James Harden and defensive-minded shooting guard Patrick Beverley. "I didn't obviously know it would be this quick but he played great," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters of Williams' debut. "He makes our second unit really good and we're going to be able to do a lot of different things with him on this team."
1. The Timberwolves have dropped the last seven visits to Houston, their last victory occurring on Feb. 17, 2012.
2. Minnesota has allowed an average of 90.7 points in its last three victories.
3. Beverley matched his career high of 12 rebounds and his season best of four steals in the win over New Orleans.
PREDICTION: Rockets 124, Timberwolves 109
Stats and Records
Houston Off vs
114.7 Points For
105.3 Points Against