Our Houston plays Minnesota NBA free pick offers one team on a tear, the Rockets with nine straight wins, and another wanting to avenge their 111-109 OT home loss to Houston in December. The Rockets (31-9 Overall, 15-6 Away) are at the top of their game and second in the Southwest Division to the Spurs. The Timberwolves (12-25 Overall, 7-13 Home) are 3-7 for their last ten and in last place in the Northwest Division.
Although playing their third straight road game, the Timberwolves come in rested. They last took the court on Jan 8 when they beat the Toronto Raptors 129-122. For Minnesota, this is their third straight home contest. Presently, they are 1-1 for this home stand. They last played on Jan. 9, beating the Dallas Mavericks 101-92.
Although it’s easy to focus just on SG James Harden (28.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 11.4 APG) and the amazing season he’s having. It’s important to realize that the Rockets are winning as a team. Harden does a lot, including hitting 44% of his shots, 52% of his two-pointers and 85% of his frees. Two important contributors, SG Eric Gordon and center Clint Capela, are both out. But that doesn’t mean that the Rockets are without quality players.
Houston’s bench is averaging 39.7 PPG, which is 10th in the league. They’re second in shooting percentage (48%) and fourth in three-point conversions (37%). Point guard Patrick Beverley (9.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.4 APG) is a 44% shooter from the field and is good from the arc and beyond 40% of the time. In the frontcourt, power forward Ryan Anderson (14.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and small forward Trevor Ariza (12.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG) are both effective players. Center Nene Hilario (7.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG) and PF Montrezl Harrell (9.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG) offer sound play in the paint.
Minnesota has three players who are averaging 20-plus points per game. Topping that list is small forward Andrew Wiggins (21.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG). Wiggins is good on 44% of his field goals. Karl-Anthony Towns (21.7 PPG, 11.7 PPG) is the second player on that list. He’s a 48% shooter, knocking down 53% of his two-point shots.
The Timberwolves will be missing starting point guard Zach LaVine. Unfortunately, he’s the third player averaging over 20 PPG. Unlike the Rockets, Minnesota’s bench contributions fall last in the league in points and 25th in shooting percentage. PG Ricky Rubio (7.3 PPG, 7.4 APG) is a solid contributor who will see extra minutes due to LaVine’s absence. PF Gorgul Dieng (10.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG) is a sound defender averaging 1.00 SPG and 1.21 BPG.
Houston Plays Minnesota NBA Free Pick
Overall, this Rocket team has higher scoring percentages than the Timberwolves. The biggest contrast is in three-point percentage where Houston is 24 percentage points better than Minnesota. They are also 16 better on field goals. Despite the injuries, we like the Rockets at -3.5. Tipoff is at 8:05 p.m. ET. That’s our Houston plays Minnesota NBA free pick.