HOUSTON- The Houston Rockets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-118 on the final day of the NBA regular season. The Rockets hold the 3rd seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Wolves will look forward to the draft, offseason acquisitions, and hard work to propel them into the playoffs next season.
James Harden led the rockets with a triple double that consisted of 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. 6 players from Houston finished in double figures scoring including Clint Capela with 22 and Ryan Anderson with 20. The Rockets shot 19 of 56 in 3-point field goals to continue the team trend of leading the NBA in 3 point attempts.
Karl-Anthony Towns led all scorers with 28 points, adding 21 rebounds to his spectacular evening. Shabazz Muhammad scored 22 off the bench in 22 minutes. Andrew Wiggins contributed 21 for the young Wolves. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones provided good guard play in Ricky Rubio’s night off. Dunn scored 10 points to go with 16 assists. Jones added 17 points and 7 assists.
The high scoring contest was competitive throughout with the Rockets jumping out to an early double digit lead with 6 early 3-point field goals. The Wolves erased a 13-point first quarter deficit when Andrew Wiggins buried a 3 pointer in front of the Wolves bench. A couple minutes later the visitors took their first lead on a Kris Dunn crosscourt to Wiggins for a 3 pointer and a 32-29 lead.
The Rockets largest lead of the game came with 5:17 seconds in the 4th quarter as Harden took the pass from Eric Gordon and sunk the shot from beyond the arc. Houston led 118-99. The Wolves fought back from solid offense from Jones and Muhammad. Minnesota closed out the game on a 19-4 run.
That and This
-Despite a new front office and new coaching staff, the Wolves improved by only 2 games from last seasons final record.
-The Wolves hold the longest current NBA franchise playoff drought at 13 seasons
-Karl-Anthony Towns broke Kevin Love’s record for Timberwolves single season points.
-The Wolves will hold a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
-Karl-Anthony Towns became the youngest player in NBA history to have a season with 2000 points and 1000 rebounds, surpassing Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal. He also became the only player in history to have 2000 points 1000 rebounds and 100 3-point field goals.
-James Harden became the first NBA player in history with 2000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds in 1 season.
The Houston Rockets improve to 55-27 and will host the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves finish the NBA regular season 31-51.