NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (52-26) at Minnesota Timberwolves (39-39), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets are in a fight for playoff positioning and they'll take that fight to the Target Center Friday night when they meet the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Houston has already clinched a playoff berth, but the Rockets are 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the third seed. Time is winding down on that being a realistic possibility.
However, the Rockets are only 1 1/2 clear of the Portland Trail Blazers, who reside in fifth. Homecourt in a potential first-round series between the two is very much up for grabs.
Houston saw its three-game winning streak halted Wednesday night in a 123-116 road loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Jeremy Lin paced Houston with 18 points, Chandler Parsons tallied 16 and Omer Asik recorded 12 points with 12 rebounds in the setback. Terrence Jones finished with 11, while Troy Daniels (12), Donatas Motiejunas (11) and Jordan Hamilton (11) keyed a big bench effort.
James Harden ended up with 10 points, but he sat late after getting kneed in the leg. He should be available Friday night.
"I got kneed in the shin," Harden said after the game. "It was pretty painful. For a couple seconds my leg just went numb. It was very painful. I tried to go out there and play on it, but I ended up just getting some rest and icing it."
Dwight Howard was listed as a game-time decision, but missed his seventh straight contest with an ankle injury.
The Timberwolves have lost two of three and fell to the Chicago Bulls at home on Wednesday, 102-87.
Kevin Love totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio scored 15 points with six assists for the Timberwolves, who will miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.
Ronny Turiaf contributed 11 points and five boards off the bench and was the only other double-figure scorer.
"I thought we did a pretty good job the first half. The second half, third quarter they just started making shots and we couldn't get one to go down and we looked like we ran out of gas in the second half," said Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman.
Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic both missed the game due to injury, a common occurrence for the Wolves this season. Those two huge pieces have missed a combined 37 games due to injury during the 2013-14 campaign.
The Rockets will look for the season sweep against Minnesota on Friday. That hasn't happened since the 2009-10 season and Houston is 10-2 in its last 12 in Minny.
04/11 10:58:03 ET