I feel like I’ve had every possible Wolves-Rockets recap since I started writing for A Wolf Among Wolves in the fall of 2013. Truth is, this is the 5th; they’ve met 14 times over that span. The Wolves are 2-12 overall in those games, and 0-5 in mine. Last night’s 142-130 loss was the craziest yet.
I’ve just about run out of things to say about James Harden and the Houston Rockets. They’re completely unreasonable. I sort of vaguely hate watching them for reasons I can’t quite explain, yet I respect and admire their success. Harden (24 points, 10 assists last night) somehow looks more comfortable than he ever has, even though the rest of the Rockets’ roster has been turned over nearly two full times since he arrived (in the fall of 2012). Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon should never play for any other coach than Mike D’Antoni, who has given the two of them a green light that never even blinks yellow. Their offense has been an analytics-driven juggernaut for years, but this version of it is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen. It’s an accelerated version of it. Houston took 42 free throws and 58 three-pointers. FIFTY. EIGHT. Hell, that was a two-week output in Flip/Smitch’s offense from the past two Wolves’ seasons; the Rockets did it in 48 minutes.
I mean, LOOK AT THIS:
Minnesota shot 52/35/82 from the field, scored 68 points in the paint, and nearly doubled up the Rockets in second-chance points (29-to-15) thanks to an astounding 21 offensive rebounds. KAT racked up a 37-22 line, Wiggins had 30, and the much-maligned Minnesota bench combined for 33 points on 12-of-25 shooting. It didn’t matter. Once Clint Capela slammed home an alley-oop from James Harden to make it 4-2 Rockets at the 10:02 mark of the 1st quarter, the Wolves never so much as tied it back up. That was it.
The Wolves were sunk in part by their 23 turnovers, and to their credit, they kept pushing and fighting until the very end. It just… didn’t… matter. Everyone knows what’s coming from the Rockets, and the Wolves (especially) could not stop it.
— Meredith Minkow (@murrminks) February 26, 2017
I don’t really know what else to say. This was nice, I guess:
Dunn dime pic.twitter.com/TDCgAptrN3
— StreetHistory (@streethistory) February 26, 201
A few more random observations:
- Shabazz wore a black headband instead of the white. I think I like the white look, more, but overall I am very encouraged by this very positive development.
- Gorgui had a 16-13-2-4 steal line. You know, most centers look completely out of place and can’t stay on the floor in games like this one, but because Gorgui hustles and has slightly better than average ball handling/shooting skills for his position, he fits right in.
- Patrick Beverley did Patrick Beverley things, earning a tech for shoving Rubio in some passive-aggressive third quarter spat.
- Lou Williams was such a nice pickup for the Rockets. He had 17 points and 4 dimes off the bench.
- Brandon Rush might be cooked. At what point does he get moved out of the starting lineup?
- The Wolves continue their push for the 8th seed (ONLY THREE AND A HALF GAMES BACK, BABY!) Monday night against the Boogie-less Sacramento Kings.