James Harden was phenomenal in leading the Houston Rockets to a 104-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 of their first round playoff series. The game provided plenty of excitement, but the home team was not able to get the cover. Houston was favored by 11.5 points prior to tip-off. The over never stood much of a chance and fell well short of the 216 points oddsmakers set the total at.
Being named MVP seems a foregone conclusion for Harden, but he was out for more in this game. He has certainly heard the critics wondering whether or not he can get it done in the postseason after previous failures, and he responded with an incredible performance.
On a night when some of Houston’s other guards struggled, Harden was a beast. He shot 7-12 from beyond the arc, while the rest of the team went just 3-25 from three-point range. Harden was even better when driving to the basket, and he finished the night 15-26 from the floor with 44 points and even tacked on eight assists.
The Robin to Harden’s Batman
Neither Eric Gordon or Chris Paul had good names for Houston, but Clint Capela came through in a big way. The Rockets’ big man is sometimes overshadowed in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, yet he was the team’s second leading scorer on the evening with 24 points on 101-5 shooting. Capela also was able to pick up 12 rebounds, notching a double-double.
Karl-Anthony Towns‘ playoff debut was a night to forget for the young center. Towns was able to rebound well, but he failed to present himself as much of a scoring threat. He went just 3-9 from the floor and finished sixth on the team with eight points.
These teams will meet again for Game 2 on Wednesday, April 18, at 9:30 p.m. ET. Oddsmakers BetDSI have not been dissuaded by Game 1’s close result, installing Houston as a 10.5-point favorite.
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