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No person on the Minnesota Timberwolves performed notably effectively in Sport 1 of their opening spherical matchup towards the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening, a 104-101 loss that put them down 1-Zero within the sequence. Regardless of that, they must be a minimum of a bit bit inspired by the slender margin of defeat.

James Harden was phenomenal as normal, placing up 44 factors to go together with eight assists, 4 rebounds, and a pair of steals, whereas Clint Capela added 24 factors and 12 rebounds.

The Wolves’ three largest stars, in the meantime, largely struggled, with Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler ending with 18 factors and 13 factors, respectively. However the largest no-show by far was Karl-Anthony Cities, who was restricted to eight factors on simply 9 whole area objective makes an attempt.

Previous to Sport 2 on Wednesday evening, Wolves level guard Jeff Teague virtually begged everybody in Minnesota to get Cities extra concerned within the offense transferring ahead.

The Rockets satisfaction themselves on their defensive agility, particularly across the perimeter the place they change each defensive project on their pick-and-roll protection. However as Teague rightly factors out, his group principally didn’t make the most of the ensuing mismatches, most notably when Cities can be matched up towards a guard.

Nonetheless, head coach Tom Thibodeau — who’s notoriously intractable in relation to his sport plan — doesn’t appear too eager on making that exact adjustment in Sport 2.

Any means you slice it, Cities must be extra concerned within the offense transferring ahead, which Thibs himself admitted after Sport 1. The query stays, nonetheless, as as to if it’s the coach’s accountability to make that occur, whether or not the onus is on the opposite 4 gamers on the ground to get him the ball, or whether or not Cities must be extra aggressive in demanding issues run by way of him. Presumably, it’s some mixture of the three.

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