National Basketball Association playoffs 2018: Predictions, picks for Rockets vs. Timberwolves first-round series

National Basketball Association playoffs 2018: Predictions, picks for Rockets vs. Timberwolves first-round series

The schedule is set for the first round of the NBA Playoffs as the Minnesota Timberwolves will take on the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets, led by James Harden, have dominated all season long, and that's not expected to change vs. the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are 17 in scoring defense as they allow 107.3 points per game. By relying on Towns, who paced the team in points (1,743), rebounds (1,012), blocks (115) and 3-pointers (120), plus Butler in the post, Minnesota might unlock a pace that could prevent Houston from its usually lethal combo of layups and open 3s. Jeff Teague added 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. The Minnesota Timberwolves are allowing 36.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42 rebounds per game.

With only a handful of games left until the playoffs start, the Houston Rockets sit on top of the throne with the best record in the National Basketball Association and have locked in their No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

He's no Harden or Paul, but Mbah a Moute played a strong supporting role in all four Rockets wins over the Wolves this year. Game 2 will be at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and can be heard on BUZ'N 102.9 FM.

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The aforementioned guys are one of the most budding, young centers who are just beginning to ascend to the peak of their careers. The Houston Rockets are shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc and 78.1 percent from the free throw line.

Harden meanwhile is the front-runner to win the award having led the league on points-per-game and three pointers made as well as helping the Houston Rockets topple the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference. 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.

The over is 4-1 in the Timberwolves' last 5 Sunday games and 11-3 in their last 14 against teams with a winning record.

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. Either way, I don't like laying big chalk, let alone double-digit chalk in playoffs. That doesn't mean this team is short on playoff experience, though. The value is over the total.

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