page contents NBA playoffs live: The Rockets score 50 points in the third quarter, rout T-Wolves in Game 4 – The News Headline

NBA playoffs live: The Rockets score 50 points in the third quarter, rout T-Wolves in Game 4

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The primary around of the NBA playoffs continues these days with two pivotal Recreation 4s. Observe alongside right here for the most recent research and statement from The Put up’s NBA reporter Tim Bontemps, and ask him questions within the feedback phase. Catch up on yesterday’s games here.

Schedule and results | Pregame reading | Comments section Q&A

• The Rockets struggled early in Minnesota in Game 4, then exploded for a 50-point third quarter. They now lead the series, 3-1.

• The Oklahoma City Thunder came into this season with sky-high expectations. But things have not gone according to plan.

A bad call by the referees early in Game 4 nearly proved to be disastrous for Utah.

Russell Westbrook drove into the heart of the defense and kicked out to the perimeter — only to land, after jumping in the air to make the pass, and grab at his head.

A whistle blew, and a foul was called — initially on Jazz center Rudy Gobert, giving him two for the game. There was just one problem: The player who actually hit Westbrook in the head was his teammate Steven Adams.

To his credit, the excellent Brent Barry — doing color on the TNT broadcast alongside the also excellent Ian Eagle — immediately asked, “Did Steven Adams just foul Russell Westbrook?”

It turns out that he did.

Jazz Coach Quin Snyder was up off the bench screaming at the referees to change the call from Gobert to reserve wing Royce O’Neal, saying that Gobert was nowhere near the play, as he took Gobert out of the game. Eventually his wish was granted, and Gobert’s foul was changed, leaving him with just one for the game.

With Gobert out, though, Westbrook — who has not been willing to attack Gobert, the presumptive defensive player of the year, throughout the series at the rim — drove to the basket for a layup.

The first turning point in Thunder-Jazz: Russell Westbrook picking up two fouls less than eight minutes into the game.

Ricky Rubio sold some contact and went down on an inbounds play, getting Westbrook’s second foul at the four-minute mark of the first.

That left Thunder Coach Billy Donovan with a critical decision to make: take Westbrook out, or leave him in the game? Donovan chose the latter.

Let’s see how Westbrook handles it.

As Thunder-Jazz is about to get underway in Salt Lake City, something to monitor: When Russell Westbrook came out pregame, he had a lot of kinesio tape on his upper body, including both of his shoulders.

Reporters asked Thunder Coach Billy Donovan before the game about Westbrook, who has been in the news ever since he said he was going to “shut that s— down” in reference to Ricky Rubio after he scored 28 points and recorded a triple-double in Utah’s Game 3 win Saturday night.

“He’s a competitor,” Donovan said. “He’s going to come out and play. He’s going to play hard. He’s going to play well.”

Fred Katz from the Norman Transcript had further updates on Westbrook needing to be looked at during the second half of Game 3:

In the back of handiest the second one 50-point quarter in a playoff sport in NBA historical past, the Houston Rockets moved to inside of one victory of advancing to the second one around of the NBA playoffs.

James Harden had 36 issues and Chris Paul added 25, six rebounds, six assists and 5 steals to raise the Rockets to a 119-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and a Three-1 lead on this best-of-seven sequence.

Minnesota became the ball over an excessive amount of (17 instances that become 19 Rockets issues) and made part as many three-pointers, going eight for 22 in comparison to Houston going 16 for 43. That mixture served as a demise knell for the Timberwolves on this one — in particular within the 1/3 quarter, by which Houston made extra threes in 12 mins (nine on 13 photographs) than Minnesota made in 48.

Now the sequence shifts again to Houston for Recreation five Wednesday, and it’s laborious to look the way it comes again to Minnesota for Recreation 6.

Hi there, take into accout when the Rockets had been suffering to attain at halftime?

Yeah. About that.

Houston in any case burst out of its prolonged taking pictures hunch within the 1/3 quarter, matching its first part scoring overall by means of 50 issues within the 1/3 quarter by myself to take what was once a one-point halftime lead and switch it right into a 31-point benefit.

That is but some other instance of the way Minnesota was once all the time going to combat to win towards Houston. The maths equation of the threes taken by means of each and every staff merely wasn’t going to figure out for the Timberwolves – until Houston couldn’t make any.

Within the first part, that was once the case, because the Rockets had been 7 for 25 from 3. Within the 1/3 quarter, the Rockets went nine for 13 from deep.

Minnesota, then again, has handiest tried 18 threes in all the sport.

Upload within the truth Houston has simply two turnovers (and Minnesota has no issues off them), whilst forcing 11 Timberwolves turnovers and scoring 17 issues off of them, and there’s the ball sport.

This sport may well be over temporarily.

The Rockets have opened the second one part with a 13-2 run, taking what was once a one-point lead for Houston to a 12-point one.

This was once the type of run it felt like Houston was once eternally going to make within the first part, however couldn’t purchase a basket. And for Minnesota, a staff that can combat to win the mathematics equation towards Houston first of all as a result of the collection of threes the Rockets take (and Wolves don’t), this kind of stretch like that may be demise.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are staying in Recreation four because of an not going hero: Derrick Rose.

Sure, that will be the similar Derrick Rose that was once discarded by means of the Cleveland Cavaliers previous this season, and who waited weeks to discover a new house sooner than touchdown in Minnesota. However now, with the Timberwolves’ season at the line, he’s generating.

Rose has 11 issues within the first part, main Minnesota’s scorers and has them inside of one at halftime, 50-49. That’s regardless of Karl-Anthony Cities being in foul hassle, Minnesota committing seven turnovers (in comparison to simply two for Houston)and the Wolves going Three for 10 from three-point vary.

How he’s executed it’s been essential, too, as Rose has frequently attacked the paint. Now four for five from the sector, Rose has made one 3 and brought one different lengthy jumper, however his different 3 photographs all got here proper on the rim.

If Rose would decide to being that roughly participant shifting ahead — person who doesn’t take dangerous, inefficient mid-range photographs and as an alternative assaults the rim relentlessly — there’s a possibility Rose can carve out a task for himself within the league as a productive participant. That’s one thing I didn’t assume, admittedly, I’d be pronouncing.

In the meantime, this primary part needs to be a win for the Rockets. They ignored a ton of photographs — taking pictures 38.eight % total and going 7 for 25 from 3 — and nonetheless ended it up by means of one. The Timberwolves will probably be in numerous hassle if Houston can get issues entering into the second one part and may glance again on it’s personal offensive struggles within the first part as a ignored alternative to even this sequence up.

The Corridor of Popularity giant males on TNT’s “Within The NBA” set, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, have time and again begged Karl-Anthony Cities to make the most of the smaller gamers switched onto him by means of the Rockets all the way through this season.

In the second one quarter of Recreation four, Cities is taking benefit.

He’s were given six issues and 5 rebounds in 8 mins after lacking many of the first with foul hassle and has attacked each heart Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon within the put up in the previous couple of mins.

Cities is a phenomenal offensive participant, being able to shoot out to the three-point line and with the scale and footwork to be devastating within the paint. He’s a weapon that Houston doesn’t have an excellent solution to forestall if he will get going, and his shot makes an attempt had been an ongoing storyline all season lengthy in Minnesota.

The second one quarter, despite the fact that, has proven what he’s able to doing.

Tucker additionally returned to the sport for Houston and looks high quality.

Jeff Teague returned to the sport for Minnesota after jamming his finger. Houston will probably be hoping P.J. Tucker can do the similar after injuring his left leg.

Tucker went down in a heap whilst using to the basket, showing to doubtlessly flip his left ankle or harm his left knee sooner than falling to the bottom. He in the end were given to his toes after which limped to the locker room.

A little while later, Tucker got here again to the bench and placed on his warmups, without a phrase as to his standing.

For a Rockets staff that switches each display screen and values each Tucker’s defensive toughness and taking pictures skill, shedding him can be an actual blow — in particular with Luc Mbah a Moute already out with a shoulder damage.

The Houston Rockets had the NBA’s ideal file. They tied the Golden State Warriors for having the NBA’s ideal offense. They made — and tried — extra three-pointers than another NBA staff.

So what’s came about all the way through Houston’s first-round sequence, which has noticed the Rockets glance way more standard than nuclear during the opening 3 video games towards the Minnesota Timberwolves?

In keeping with Rockets Trainer Mike D’Antoni, his staff misplaced its rhythm.

“I’d say [the past] couple months we haven’t performed in point of fact smartly,” D’Antoni stated sooner than Sunday’s apply, an afternoon after a 121-105 loss that trimmed the Rockets’ sequence result in 2-1. “That’s why I used to be nervous the entire time about resting guys, doing this, getting out of rhythm. [People say], ‘It doesn’t in point of fact imply an entire lot.’ Eh, it does.

“Anyway, we’re the place we’re. We’ll be high quality. We’ll be k.”

Likelihood is that, D’Antoni will end up to be proper. Houston has the presumptive league MVP in James Harden, some other Corridor of Popularity guard in James Harden, and shooters galore surrounding them.

That being stated: the Timberwolves, one of the vital worst defensive groups within the NBA this season, have effectively been in a position to gradual them down thus far on this sequence. A few of that may be attributed to random likelihood, as Houston was once taking pictures 31.6 % on threes within the first 3 video games, after taking pictures 36.five all the way through the common season.

However it’s something for function gamers to hit photographs all the way through the common season. It’s some other when the power is ratcheted up within the playoffs, when the opponent is keyed in on dispositions and easily taking part in a lot tougher.

And the primary quarter of Recreation four shouldn’t make any person rooting for Houston really feel higher about its offensive problems. The Rockets had been 6 for 23 within the first quarter. Take away Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon, who went five for 7, and that quantity drops to at least one for 16.

Houston nonetheless is within the motive force’s seat on this sequence and the favourite to make the Western Convention finals and face the Warriors. However the offense going from nuclear to standard thus far this postseason will probably be a tale line price tracking.

First Karl-Anthony Cities left the sport with foul hassle, and now Jeff Teague is injured for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnesota’s start line guard exited the sport and was once escorted again to the locker room by means of the staff’s scientific staff, after showing to injure his finger going after a unfastened ball defensively.

Teague and Cities are the most efficient shooters of Minnesota’s standard beginning 5 — and the Wolves don’t have many different shooters to spare. If his sport is compromised as a result of this damage, an already tough job was once unexpectedly simply made a lot tougher.

No longer the best get started for Minnesota, to mention the least — even supposing the Wolves are handiest down one, 16-15, past due within the first quarter.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were given off to a scorching get started. The group was once into the sport. They were given a few early baskets.

After which Karl-Anthony Cities were given two fouls.

It to start with gave the impression of the all-star heart was once going to be going to the road when the whistle blew, given he’d been attacking the basket. However he was once (appropriately) known as for an offensive foul for containing off Rockets ahead P.J. Tucker along with his off arm.

That was once the very last thing the Timberwolves, trailing 2-1 on this sequence, wanted early on on this sport. The already difficult job of maintaining with Houston’s high-powered offense handiest will probably be harder with the league’s ideal offensive heart caught at the bench for — at minimal — the majority of the primary quarter as a result of foul hassle.

The Oklahoma Town Thunder got here into this season with sky-high expectancies. After profitable 47 video games a yr in the past with Russell Westbrook striking up a historical, MVP-winning season, the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony within the offseason had been intended to make the Thunder again right into a championship contender sooner than expected following Kevin Durant bolting for the Bay House in unfastened company in 2016.

Issues, then again, have now not long past in keeping with plan.

Anthony has performed at a degree a ways lower than expected as the team’s third option. Andre Roberson, who was headed toward possibly being named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, was lost for the season in late January with a torn patellar tendon, altering the formula upon which the Thunder had built their team.

And now, as the Thunder is down 2-1 to the Utah Jazz entering Game 4 of this first-round series Monday night, a loss will put OKC right back in the same position it was in last year: possibly headed out of the playoffs in five games in the first round.

We have Westbrook declaring he’s going to “shut that s— off,” after Ricky Rubio scored 28 points to lift Utah to its Game 3 win Saturday night. We have Derrick Favors outplaying Anthony in Games 2 and 3, winning a matchup that will likely decide the outcome of this series. And we have Steven Adams, who was hardly ever in foul trouble this season, racking up calls in both Games 2 and 3, helping swing the series in Utah’s direction.

So what has to change in Game 4? For one, Adams needs to stay on the court. There might not be a single player in the league stronger than the hulking New Zealander, and with him on the court, Rudy Gobert’s outsized influence on the Jazz is somewhat diminished. Without Adams, Gobert can roam free and wreak havoc.

Anthony also needs to hit shots. Utah has played better in this series when Favors and Gobert have been able to share the court together — something that would be much tougher for the Jazz to do if Anthony can punish them for guarding him with Favors. That hasn’t really been the case so far, though, allowing Utah to gain control.

And, perhaps most importantly, the Thunder needs Westbrook to get back to playing like himself. He’s never going to be a good three-point shooter, but after going 10-for-21 on two-point shots in Game 1, he’s gone a combined 9-for-29 the past two — a credit to the influence Gobert is having in the paint. That can also be traced back to Adams getting into foul trouble, as the Westbrook-Adams pick-and-roll — one of Oklahoma City’s strengths, and something Gobert struggled to handle in Game 1 — has been neutralized the past two games.

Westbrook’s defiant answer about Rubio’s shooting after Game 3 became the thing everyone will be talking about up until tipoff Monday night in Salt Lake City. And while, yes, Westbrook simply can’t be outplayed by Rubio like he was in Game 3, it’s going to require changing a lot more than that for Oklahoma City to get the win it needs to even up this series Monday night.

Monday’s schedule:

  • Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves (Rockets lead 2-1); 8 p.m., TNT
  • Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz (Jazz leads 2-1); 10:30 p.m., TNT

Additional reading:

Lance Stephenson got to LeBron James, but the Cavaliers got the win

Wizards reach their breaking point against Raptors. Then they get it together.

It turns out this year might not be so different for the Raptors after all

After first-round sweep, Blazers’ next steps could include trading away their stars

A grieving Gregg Popovich sat out Spurs’ Game 4 win over Warriors

‘All my best games I was medicated’: Matt Barnes on his game-day use of marijuana

Adam Silver: One of the WNBA’s problems is that not enough young women pay attention to it

‘Get off her back’: LeBron James defends TNT reporter who asked him about Erin Popovich’s death

NBA, Twitch reach deal on 2K League streaming rights

Comment Q&A

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