For the first time in franchise history, the Rockets (65-17) secured 60-plus wins and the best record in the National Basketball Association.
The Rockets only shot 36.5 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from 3-point range in the second game of the series. The Rockets' three point shooting has been even worse as they are hitting a paltry 31.5 percent from beyond the arc: they hit 69.6 percent at the charity stripe. Houston never made Minnesota uncomfortable in game 3, and must increase the pressure and intensity in game 4.
Derrick Rose also provided a nice boost off the bench with 17 points, and he has played better in this series than during any other stretch of the season between the Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. Chris Paul was outplayed by Jeff Teague in game 3, and the Rockets have to expect more from their All Star point guard. Now, it's been something of an adjustment to transition to playoff-level intensity, which was manifested in a letdown Game 3 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Paul led the way with 27 points and 8 assists and Gerald Green scored 21 points off of the bench.
James Harden had another solid game in game 3 (29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), but wasn't able to get to the rim as easily as he is used to. During the regular season, Houston won 11 games in which it trailed by double digits, including at Minnesota on February 13 when the deficit reached 13 points in the third quarter of a 126-108 victory.
This likely will be Minnesota's final home game of the season without a victory; a win would assure the series would return to the Twin Cities for a Game 6. And heading back to Houston with a 2-2 series tie would be a massive win.
The total has gone under in six of Houston's last seven games. Head coach Mike D'Antoni remarked that his two superstars haven't really been at their best for a couple of months now, and it showed in a big way in this game. The Rockets need more production from Clint Capela who scored just seven points and Gordon who shot just five of 16 from the field, but the overall problem was the lack of pace in the offense as they played passively and allowed the Timberwolves to dictate the tempo.