The Rockets outscored the Timberwolves by 30 in the third quarter of Monday’s Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the opening series of the postseason.
Outside of the third, the game was very tight and Minnesota might've even had the advantage. Houston led by just 1-point at the half thanks to a comeback and was outscored by 12 in the fourth quarter of the 119-100 final.
The third was symbolic of of just how dangerous this Rockets team can be and how fast they can post points. Their 50 points in a single quarter on Monday was the second most from a road playoff team in league history, only behind the 1962 Lakers. Houston shot 61 percent from the field in the third and 69 percent beyond the arc. James Harden scored 36 points in the contest and Chris Paul scored 25.
It also shows that the Rockets were probably never going to lose this series regardless of the circumstances. Some of the games have been tighter than predicted, but the fact that the Rockets have the ability to score 50 points in 12 minutes tells me pretty much all I need to know about this series. The Timberwolves have fought valiantly, but look the Rockets will be in the second round before you know it.
That’s when the newfound parody of the Western Conference and the NBA as a whole will become very interesting. The good news for the Rockets is that the records of their two possible second round opponents are just a game better than Minnesota’s. The Utah Jazz, who lead the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-1, will be the likely matchup and they won 48 game to earn the 5-seed opposed to Houston’s league-leading 65.
If we assume the Rockets are capable of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, the fun will really begin. Unless there’s a miracle, the 2-seeded Golden State Warriors will advance to the same place and stand in the way of the Rockets and the NBA Finals.
There's no reason to think a roster like this one can’t go all the way, but they’re going to need to be a little bit more consistent if they hope to eventually take down the defending champions in the Western Conference and someone like LeBron James or another worthy advisory in the Finals.