Besides the final score, there was really only one easily distinguishable difference between the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night: Houston hit a ton of threes.
Final score: Rockets 126, Wolves 108, but the true difference was that Houston hit 22-of-47 threes while the Wolves, always one of the 3-point bottom feeders of the NBA, hit on only 6-of-23.
Aaron Gleeman's tweet sums things up perfectly.
The same 3-point disparity has kicked Minnesota in the back of the leg five other games this season. And wouldn't you know it, those were against mostly Western Conference playoff teams.
- Nov. 8: Warriors hit 15 threes, Minnesota hits 5
- Dec. 12: 76ers hit 11 threes, Minnesota hits 5
- Jan. 18: Rockets hit 17 threes, Minnesota hits 8
- Jan. 24: Blazers hit 17 threes, Minnesota hits 6
- Jan. 25: Warriors hit 21 threes, Minnesota hits 6
Even last week's franchise record 19 threes against the Cavaliers wasn't enough to win. Why? Because Cleveland hit 21 threes.
Houston, Cleveland, Boston, Golden State and Toronto are all in the top seven for made 3-pointers. Check the standings and you'll see those teams represent the top teams in the West and East.
Cleveland and Golden State have played in each of the last three NBA Finals and each season they've both been top four in made threes.
The Wolves? They're always 29th or last, and again this season they're 29th with just 476 threes. Houston, in first, has 879.
Before you say the Wolves don't have the shooters to flame-throw like Houston, consider that Minnesota shoots 35.8 percent from three compared to the Rockets' 36.7 percent.
You never know what's going to happen in a best-of-five or best-of-seven playoff series, but unless the Wolves suddenly start playing like the Spurs on defense, there's a really good chance they get run out of the gym by a 3-happy team.