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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 20th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Timberwolves (34-32) at Houston Rockets (45-22), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets are trying to secure homecourt advantage in the Western Conference playoff race, but they'll be without a key piece Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center.

Dwight Howard didn't practice on Wednesday and is expected to miss Thursday's contest with a left ankle strain. He underwent an MRI and the results revealed a cyst that has bothered the All-Star center for weeks.

"(The doctors) did some work on it yesterday," Howard acknowledged. "They got some of the fluid out. The cyst caused some problems, caused a lot of pain that I've been feeling for about two-and-a-half weeks, and after the Miami game I couldn't walk. So I just wanted to make sure everything was OK with it and that's when I found out I had a cyst. We got some of that removed and I feel a lot better today."

Howard wasn't in the lineup Monday night when the Rockets squashed the Utah Jazz, 124-86, in Houston.

Omer Asik started in Howard's place and registered a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"Nothing changes," said James Harden, who had 15 points Monday. "Omer was our starting center last year, he knows what he's doing and he's one of the best centers in the league."

Terrence Jones was magnificent with 30 points. Patrick Beverley finished with 19 points, followed by 17 from Jeremy Lin and 15 out of Jordan Hamilton.

The Rockets shot 58 percent from the floor and 52 percent from beyond the arc. Houston did commit 19 turnovers, but so did the Jazz and the Rockets parlayed those into 26 points.

The Wolves have won two in a row, including a great one-point, overtime victory Wednesday night in Dallas over the Mavericks.

Kevin Love poured in 35 points, including the game-winner with 17.1 seconds left in overtime to lead the Timberwolves to a 123-122 win over the Mavericks.

The Timberwolves blew a 22-point second quarter lead and the game went to overtime tied at 113-113.

Love hit three free throws after a Vince Carter foul from beyond the arc to tie the game at 120-120. Carter fouled out on the play and Love would head back to the line on the next possession, converting 1-of-2 from the line to give the Timberwolves a 121-120 lead with under two minutes to go.

Dirk Nowitzki, guarded by Love, drove the lane and hit a contested fadeaway turnaround to push the hosts in front by one with 33.9 seconds left.

Love answered at the other end with a tough floater after being harassed by Shawn Marion and Devin Harris on the near sideline with 17.1 ticks remaining. Love lost his dribble, pivoted off his right foot turning around a couple of times before splitting the defenders and floating it in.

"They (Mavs) were executing, so we just had to play our best game as well as we could," said Love. "We will take the win, whether it is in regulation or overtime."

Ricky Rubio was brilliant with 22 points and 15 assists. Kevin Martin added 19, while J.J. Barea chipped in 15, Corey Brewer contributed 13 and Gorgui Dieng posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards while starting in place of the injured Nikola Pekovic.

The Rockets have won both of this season's matchups and is 10-3 in their last 13 in Houston against Minnesota.

03/20 10:30:30 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
2nd OT
SAN 110
POR 104
 
4th
DEN 71
LAC 74
 
1st
LAL 14
OKC 4
 
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
2nd
TTU 66
ARKPB 48
 
2nd
DEN 74
COLST 82
 
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
1st
CAL 37
EWASH 24
 
Half
UTST 30
IDST 24
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
2nd Intermission
CAL 1
DAL 2