5 reasons the Timberwolves can make a run at the National Basketball Association title

5 reasons the Timberwolves can make a run at the National Basketball Association title

With AP Photos.James Harden scored 44 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

Ahead of the highly anticipated first round clash between Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, let us take an in-depth look at how both teams stack up.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Karl Anthony Towns with Timberwolves' President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Flip Saunders in 2015. The Houston Rockets have lost just two home games since Christmas.

While Minnesota possesses more talent than the average 8-seed, beating the Rockets four times in seven games is almost impossible, especially when considering they lost only three games with James Harden, Clint Capela and Paul in the lineup during the regular season.

Minnesota, dominated by the Rockets during the four-game regular season series, led 86-85 on two free throws from Jamal Crawford (15 points) with 6:49 remaining. Unlike the Rockets, they had to wait until the last day of regular season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Andrew Wiggins is third on Minnesota with 17.7 points plus 4.4 boards a game. The Minnesota Timberwolves are averaging 109.5 points on 47.6 percent shooting and allowing 107.3 points on 47.5 percent shooting.

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Houston Rockets guard James Harden is bound for the first MVP award of his career this season.

Timberwolves will have to go on the offensive right from the start to have a chance of beating the Rockets. Houston is 1 in the league with 15.3 threes a night while the team is tied for 13 by shooting 36.2 percent from long range this season. Eric Gordon is putting up 18 points per contest while Clint Capela averages 13.9 points plus 10.8 rebounds a night.

Apart from being at their best offensively, they will have to devise a plan to hold down Harden, who is key for the Rockets' offense.

If Houston gets hot from downtown, it's game over for the T-Wolves.

This is Towns' first time playing in the playoffs so he'll have to get used to a more intense game and playing on a bigger stage than he's ever seen.

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