NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 20th
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (34-32) at Houston Rockets (45-22), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets are trying to secure homecourt
advantage in the Western Conference playoff race, but they'll be without a key
piece Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota
Dwight Howard didn't practice on Wednesday and is expected to miss Thursday's
contest with a left ankle strain. He underwent an MRI and the results revealed
a cyst that has bothered the All-Star center for weeks.
"(The doctors) did some work on it yesterday," Howard acknowledged. "They got
some of the fluid out. The cyst caused some problems, caused a lot of pain
that I've been feeling for about two-and-a-half weeks, and after the Miami
game I couldn't walk. So I just wanted to make sure everything was OK with it
and that's when I found out I had a cyst. We got some of that removed and I
feel a lot better today."
Howard wasn't in the lineup Monday night when the Rockets squashed the Utah
Jazz, 124-86, in Houston.
Omer Asik started in Howard's place and registered a double-double with 12
points and 11 rebounds.
"Nothing changes," said James Harden, who had 15 points Monday. "Omer was our
starting center last year, he knows what he's doing and he's one of the best
centers in the league."
Terrence Jones was magnificent with 30 points. Patrick Beverley finished with
19 points, followed by 17 from Jeremy Lin and 15 out of Jordan Hamilton.
The Rockets shot 58 percent from the floor and 52 percent from beyond the arc.
Houston did commit 19 turnovers, but so did the Jazz and the Rockets parlayed
those into 26 points.
The Wolves have won two in a row, including a great one-point, overtime
victory Wednesday night in Dallas over the Mavericks.
Kevin Love poured in 35 points, including the game-winner with 17.1 seconds
left in overtime to lead the Timberwolves to a 123-122 win over the Mavericks.
The Timberwolves blew a 22-point second quarter lead and the game went to
overtime tied at 113-113.
Love hit three free throws after a Vince Carter foul from beyond the arc to
tie the game at 120-120. Carter fouled out on the play and Love would head
back to the line on the next possession, converting 1-of-2 from the line to
give the Timberwolves a 121-120 lead with under two minutes to go.
Dirk Nowitzki, guarded by Love, drove the lane and hit a contested fadeaway
turnaround to push the hosts in front by one with 33.9 seconds left.
Love answered at the other end with a tough floater after being harassed by
Shawn Marion and Devin Harris on the near sideline with 17.1 ticks remaining.
Love lost his dribble, pivoted off his right foot turning around a couple of
times before splitting the defenders and floating it in.
"They (Mavs) were executing, so we just had to play our best game as well as
we could," said Love. "We will take the win, whether it is in regulation or
Ricky Rubio was brilliant with 22 points and 15 assists. Kevin Martin added
19, while J.J. Barea chipped in 15, Corey Brewer contributed 13 and Gorgui
Dieng posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards while starting in
place of the injured Nikola Pekovic.
The Rockets have won both of this season's matchups and is 10-3 in their last
13 in Houston against Minnesota.
03/20 10:30:30 ET