With a Timberwolves team hungry for a playoff berth, but still far enough away to make a No. 8 seed improbable, the Rockets had a tall task on hand, especially when considering Dwight Howard was out after having a fluid-filled cyst removed from his left ankle. That meant long-disgruntled backup Omer Asik would start in his place, and the Turkish 7-footer didn’t disapppoint during one epic stuff of Minney’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
While James Harden‘s 20 first-half points led the way for the Rockets in Dwight’s absence, Asik was a rock under the basket in a little over 27 minutes of action. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, and 4-of-5 form the charity stripe, a huge improvement over the injured D-12. Asik is actually knocking down free throws at a 61.8 percent clip this season, a career-high.
But it was Asik’s defense that got him a big contract with Houston in the first place (his poison pill year is coming, so don’t expect Daryl Morey to keep him around past this season), and he didn’t disappoint against the ‘Wolves. He recorded four blocks on the night, but none of them were as epic as this rejection of Mbah a Moute:
While Asik was a beast on the block, he couldn’t get at Ricky Rubio‘s around-the-head dime to Gorgui Dieng (who himself had a pretty good game with 22 points and 21 boards). But Rubio struggled after recording his third career triple-double in that last-second win over Dallas, even though his wizardry was still on display:
Kevin Love continues to bust his ass to try and make his first postseason, even as that’s looking less and less likely. He led the ‘Wolves with 29 points (10-of-19), six rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
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