5 keys 2 Rockets playoff series opener vs Timberwolves

By Adam Wexler - Sports Anchor/Reporter
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HOUSTON - It’s finally here, the best team in Houston Rockets franchise history will start their run for the ring with game one of their first round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. 

Houston swept Minnesota in their season series, winning their first three matchups by 18 points, then the final meeting by nine points. 

Here are five keys to the game:

1. Rockets have to dictate pace

Both teams scored at a high level this season, but the Timberwolves will want to limit possessions and slow things down, while the Rockets need to continue to create lots of opportunities in the half court to launch three-point shots. 

2. Defense on Karl-Anthony Towns

Houston must extend their defense on Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s the most dangerous three-point shooter on the Timberwolves, having made better than 42 percent of his 3-pt attempt this season. Towns will get his points close to the basket, regardless, the Rockets just need to limit his opportunities to stretch the defense.

3. Limit Turnovers

This was not an issue during the Rockets season sweep of the Timberwolves as Houston averaged less than 10 turnovers per game. 

4. Do the Math

Both teams set franchise records for three-pointers made this season. Houston made 1,256 of them, which is also the new NBA record, breaking their own mark set the year prior. The T’Wolves made 658 three-pointers. Houston was the most-prolific three-point shooting team, Minnesota was the least prolific. 

5. Attack the Basket

Houston tortured Minnesota on the pick and roll during the regular season. They need to keep hitting the Timberwolves with that until they show they can defend it more successfully. 

Enjoy the game and the Rockets coverage on KPRC2 & Click2Houston.com all playoffs long. 

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