National Basketball Association
Preview
Minnesota at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Houston Rockets attempt to reach the 55-win mark for just the sixth time in franchise history when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Wednesday's regular-season finale. The Rockets will be the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoff derby after topping 50 wins for the third time in four seasons.

Houston is focusing on getting ready for the postseason and Monday's 125-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was highly disappointing but one the players say has no bearing on the upcoming playoffs. "This is why you play the season for, we're going to be ready for the playoffs, that's for sure," backup shooting guard Eric Gordon told reporters. "I think that's where we might play our best basketball where we can hone in on doing what we need to do and we had a great year to put ourselves in position." Minnesota has dropped eight straight visits to Houston, the most recent being a 142-130 loss on Feb. 25. The Timberwolves, who have lost their last five games, were hard-luck losers on Tuesday when Oklahoma City guard Victor Oladipo drained the decisive basket to hand Minnesota a 100-98 setback.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), ROOT (Houston)

ABOUT THE TIMERWOLVES (31-50): Center Karl-Anthony Towns has operated at will in the interior against Houston this season, averaging 33.7 points and 18.7 rebounds in three games. Towns contributed 26 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Oklahoma City and raised his season point total to 2,033, breaking the franchise record set by Kevin Love (2,010 in 2013-14). "We wanted to come out with some wins, go out with some momentum for next season," Towns told reporters after the team's fifth straight loss. "But the only way we can do that is to go in (Wednesday) with the energy and discipline needed to win."

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (54-27):
MVP candidate James Harden is slated to play but it wouldn't be a surprise if his minutes are limited. Harden needs five assists to become the first player in NBA history with at least 2,000 points, 900 assists and 600 rebounds in a single season. Harden is averaging 28.3 points and 11.7 assists against Minnesota this season and is tied for second in the NBA in scoring at 29.1 along with Boston guard Isaiah Thomas while leading in assists at 11.2.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Rockets won nine of the past 10 meetings with the Timberwolves.

2. Minnesota SF Andrew Wiggins is averaging 23.7 points against Houston this season.

3. Houston SG Patrick Beverley (shoulder) is expected back after a one-game absence.

PREDICTION: Rockets 122, Timberwolves 109
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Minnesota 31-50 L5 20-21 11-29 1-3 30-47 5-11 18-33
Houston 54-27 L1 29-11 25-16 3-0 51-27 10-6 35-16
Last Meeting
Minnesota Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/25/17 MIN 130 HOU 142 130 58 52.1 142 32 46.8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 37 66.7 4
Houston J. Harden 24 40.0 7
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 22 9 13
Houston C. Capela 9 4 5
Assists Player  
Minnesota R. Rubio 11
Houston J. Harden 10
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 2137 53.7 395
Houston J. Harden 2434 43.9 780
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 1043 308 735
Houston J. Harden 683 97 586
Assists Player  
Minnesota R. Rubio 716
Houston J. Harden 948
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
Minnesota Off vs Houston - Points For 105.4 Points For
Minnesota Off vs Houston - Points Against 109.5 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 46.6 FG%
Houston - FG% 46.2 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 42.3 Reb
Houston - Reb 44.0 Reb
Houston Houston Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
Houston Off vs Minnesota - Points For 115.2 Points For
Houston Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 106.5 Points Against
Houston - FG% 46.2 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 47.5 FG%
Houston - Reb 44.3 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 40.3 Reb