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Game of the Night: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

The Minnesota Timberwolves face the Houston Rockets at 7:00PM Central Time, it’s the Game of the Night on NBATV and will air at 7:00 PM (CT).

 

It’s the fifth time the Wolves have played in a back-to-back in 15 games this season, and they have yet to win when the second game is on the road. Minnesota lost in Cleveland and Los Angeles to the Cavaliers and Clippers, respectively, earlier this month. They lost to the Wizards in Washington on Tuesday and fell to this Clippers, again – this time at home – Wednesday on a road-home back-to-back this week. Half of the team’s losses have come in nights the team has, or will play, consecutive nights.

It’s going to be another, tough road test against the Rockets tonight.

Prior to Wednesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Houston had won three-straight. The Rockets are coming together offensively – ranking fourth in efficiency – scoring over 100 points in all but two games this season.

Nov 20, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts after a technical foul called against him with guard Patrick Beverley (2) and forward Terrence Jones (6) against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. The Mavs beat the Rockets 123-120. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Houston’s Dwight Howard, James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin in addition to eight Wolves players averaging double-digit point totals, per 36 minutes, this season are expected to make this game the one to watch this evening. These are two of the most potent offenses in the league.

Although it took some time “Big Pek” is proving he can score efficiently, consistently, around the rim.

Pek ranked eighth in the league in Close Shot PTS Per Game (Points that are scored by a player on any touch that starts within 12 feet of the basket, excluding drives) on November 7th with 5.4 points per game. However, he ranked 181st in Close Field Goal Percentage (Field Goal Percentage on shots taken by a player on any touch that starts within 12 feet of the basket, excluding drives.) at the time. Pekovic was getting his points, but, wasn’t doing a great job of finishing shots taken around the rim.

Heading into tonight Pekovic is scoring a league-leading seven-points in close shot PTS per game, and shooting 59 percent on shots taken around the rim. A significant improvement from the 45 percent he was shooting earlier in the month.

Nov 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Reggie Evans (30) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) battle for position for a rebound in the first quarter at Target Center, Friday. Mandatory Credit: Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Howard will have his hands full tonight trying to deal with Pekovic. In a piece published before the season, SB Nation’s Mike Prada explained how Timberwolves center Nicola Pekovic asserts his presence, citing Howard as a victim.

Romantics can enjoy the shooting guard battle between Martin and Harden, former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates that were essentially exchanged for one-another in a deal that moved Martin to OKC and Harden to Houston.

Rockets point guard and scrappy defender Patrick Beverly’s effort will be tested by Ricky Rubio. Although Rubio, the current league leader in steals this season, has shown the ability to be a bother to opposing guards in his own right.

With Love, Harden, Howard, Parsons, Rubio and Martin all on the same court on a Saturday night — Wolves-Rockets undeniably the Game of the Night.

National TV: NBATV

Time:  8:00 p.m. ET

zacharybennett