National Basketball Association playoffs 2018: Timberwolves vs

James Harden

James Harden leads the team with 30.4 points per game while grabbing 5.4 boards and dishing out 8.8 assists a night.

For the first time since 2004, the Wolves are in the playoffs. The big man was a force on both ends, holding Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns to just eight points. Houston dropped two of three to close the season, falling 96-83 on the road in a meaningless game to Sacramento Wednesday. They will also have the fit-again Jimmy Butler and a largely injury-free roster that will look to take the National Basketball Association playoffs 2018 by storm.

James Harden had himself a game in Houston, piling on 44 points to lead the Rockets to a 104-101 Game 1 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Then Khris Middleton forced overtime with an absurd 3-pointer at the buzzer that barely got off his fingertips in time. The Minnesota Timberwolves waited 13 years to make the playoffs while the Houston Rockets spent the best part of the last two months of the regular season waiting for the playoffs.

The Timberwolves had a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Houston used a 9-0 run, with the last seven points from Harden, to make it 94-86 with about four minutes to go.

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Jeff Teague flirted with a triple-double (15 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) while Derrick Rose added 16 points off the bench for Minnesota.

Offensive efficiency will be the mantra for the Timberwolves as they look to upset the Rockets. Butler is now 0 for 12 this season in the final 10 seconds when the Wolves are tied or losing by three or less.

Houston fell to Sacramento in a game that meant nothing to either side as the Kings were headed to the lottery while the Rockets had long locked up the top seed in the playoffs and home court advantage throughout.

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. Capela had 20 points and 10 rebounds at halftime, but was limited in the second half and added just four more points and two rebounds.

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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