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Worth the wait: Wolves rock Rockets in first home playoff game in nearly 14 years

Minnesota looked like a completely different team in Game 3.

If the bedlam at Target Center was any indication, the Wolves' nearly 14-year wait for the playoffs was worth it. 

Minnesota looked like a new team, playing with noticeably more energy and far more authority and decisiveness on the offensive end. 

The list of improvements was lengthy. 

  • Jimmy Butler returned to All-Star form.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns played with ferocity. 
  • Andrew Wiggins looked like the star he's supposed to be. 
  • Taj Gibson was the rock he's always been. 
  • Jeff Teague outplayed Chris Paul from start to finish. 
  • Derrick Rose was vintage Derrick Rose. 
  • Jamal Crawford did his thing off the bench. 

Houston equaled Minnesota's tenacious pace for the first two and a half quarters, but the Wolves went on a 32-14 run during a stretch of 8:51 midway through the third to fourth quarters, growing the lead to 19 points at the 9:58 mark of the fourth. 

Houston, led by James Harden, didn't go away. They scored 13 of the next 15 points to cut the lead to nine, 99-90 with 6:34 to play. 

That's when Minnesota punched back, harder. 

Teague connected on an and-1 layup followed by back-to-back triples from Butler and Teague to push the lead back to 18. 

Target Center went crazy. Houston called a timeout. Minnesota finished it. 

Final score: Wolves 121, Rockets 105

The final tallies for the Wolves were striking. 

  • Butler: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
  • Towns: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 2 blocks
  • Teague: 23 points, 8 assists
  • Wiggins: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Rose: 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting off the bench

What's more is that Minnesota outgunned Houston from the 3-point line, hitting 15-of-27 compared to Houston's 15-of-41. 

Minnesota has a chance to even the series at two game apiece Monday night at home. 

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