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|HOUSTON — At first blush the Minnesota Timberwolves got what they wanted in Game 1 on Sunday Womens Cam Newton Jersey , limiting the Houston Rockets to a substandard shooting performance from the perimeter after being overrun by a hail of 3-pointers while being dismantled in all four regular-season meetings.
But what went wrong proved costly for Minnesota. Despite the sound strategy of running multiple bodies in the direction of Rockets All-Star guard James Harden, the Timberwolves’ defense resembled a sieve as Harden produced 44 points and eight assists in a 104-101 victory.
If the Timberwolves can again harass Houston into 10-for-37 shooting from behind the arc on Wednesday at Toyota Center in Game 2 of this Western Conference first-round playoff series, they will have met one of their primary objectives. However, preventing Harden from torching their defense is a game plan that must be executed in concert with blanketing the 3-point line.
“It’s got to be a lot better,” said Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, who drew the primary assignment on Harden. “I’ve got to do my job more effectively. What do you want: a free throw, a 3-pointer, a layup? He got whatever he wanted in that game and I’ve got to be better at taking it away.
“He’s a (heck) of a player; everybody knows that. But you don’t just guard him with one guy, it’s everybody out there. Everybody has to be in the correct position to challenge shots, contest him at the rim. If there is a miss we’ve got to get the rebound and take off the other way. But we didn’t do any of that. We’ve got to be better on Wednesday.”
Another goal for Minnesota is to unlock a method to better utilize the supreme talents of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns on offense. Towns was second on the team in scoring during the regular season, averaging 21.3 points while attempting 14.3 shots per game. In the series opener, he tallied eight points on nine shots and was unable to take advantage of the situation when he occasionally worked against smaller defenders in the Rockets’ switch-oriented defense.
The Timberwolves nearly overcame Towns’ lack of production by relying on a multitude of contributors. Five players scored in double figures led by Andrew Wiggins‘ 18 points and the combined 28 points from the starting backcourt of Jeff Teague and Butler. Reserves Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose totaled 31 points on 11-of-25 shooting to provide needed balance.
“The important thing is it’s not a one-on-one game, and so everyone has to understand that Authentic Eric Berry Jersey ,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If they’re going to double team that means it’s going to be easy for other people and if they’re going to switch we have to make the right reads. If we’re making the right play the game will tell you who’s going to get the shots. And as long as we take good shots then I think we’re going to score.”
Per usual, the Rockets shook off their poor shooting as an anomaly and relished their ability to thrive in the paint instead. Houston outpaced the bigger Timberwolves 54-44 on paint points with Harden feasting both on driving layups and pinpoint passes to center Clint Capela, who finished 10 of 15 for 24 points. Harden produced six layups or dunks and assisted on six more, fueling an offense often described as 3-point depended yet again proved versatile and efficient.
“I think every single night we take what the defense gives us,” Harden said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t knock down the 3-ball — Game 2 that will be different — but just getting to the basket, finishing, not only myself but Chris (Paul), Clint, the entire team. We’re not going to try to force anything. We’re going to take what they give us and have confidence in our shot. That’s all we’ve been doing and that’s the reason why we’re here.”
Before making the five-hour drive from Cleveland to Buffalo's training camp, receiver Corey Coleman was advised to leave behind the baggage of his two seasons with the Browns. The injuries, dropped passes, and constant reminders of how Coleman failed to play to the Browns' first-round draft-pick expectations can all be set aside.
The Bills are offering him a clean slate.
"We all go through things in life that don't go our way Authentic Derrick Henry Jersey ," Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Monday, a day after acquiring Coleman in a trade. "I don't know all what went right or wrong for Corey in Cleveland. But we view it as a fresh start here to earn and compete."
For the relatively small price of a 2020 seventh-round draft pick, Beane took what he called a "low-risk" gamble in a bid to add breakaway speed and play-making potential to one of his team's most unsettled positions.
In Cleveland, first-year GM John Dorsey parted ways with a player who came to symbolize the overall dysfunction of the Browns' previous regime.
By trading down in the draft order to select Coleman with the 15th pick in the 2016 draft, the Browns passed on an opportunity to choose eventual Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz.
Hand injuries limited Coleman to playing just 19 games, during which he caught 56 of the 131 passes thrown in his direction for 718 yards and five touchdowns. That was a significant drop in production for a player who scored an NCAA-leading 20 touchdowns receiving and led the Big 12 with 1,363 yards receiving at Baylor in 2015.
Coleman's tenure in Cleveland will be best remembered for his drop late in the fourth quarter in last season's finale at Pittsburgh that sealed the Browns' 0-16 finish.
None of that now matters in Buffalo, where the Bills lack established depth at receiver behind starter Kelvin Benjamin.
Including Benjamin, acquired in a mid-season trade from Carolina, Buffalo's four returning receivers combined for 57 catches for 681 yards and six touchdowns last season. Jeremy Kerley, an eighth-year player, was the team's most notable offseason free-agent addition, while the Bills also used two late-round draft picks to select Ray-Ray McCloud III and Austin Proehl.
Beane revisited previous discussions he had with the Browns regarding Coleman Authentic Allen Robinson Jersey , and elected to make the trade two weeks into training camp.
"I just thought now was the opportunity to get him in here to start learning this offense versus waiting any longer," he said.
Nothing, however, is guaranteed.
"He's not going to automatically get anything," Beane said. "He's got to come here and compete. That's what I told him on the phone last night."
Pending a physical, Coleman is expected to make his practice debut Tuesday. It's too early to determine whether he'll play in Buffalo's preseason-opener against Carolina on Thursday.
Kerley welcomed the added competition Coleman brings to the Bills.
"Here, it's a better opportunity for him to compete. It's a better opportunity for everyone. Competition is good," Kerley said. "It's going to definitely help us boost up a little bit."
As for Coleman's past, Kerley said the best advice is to forget it.
"Whatever happened in Cleveland, that's over with," Kerley said. "You're in a different place, a different atmosphere, different coaches Womens Jameis Winston Jersey , different situation. You kind of get to redeem yourself."
The trade caught Coleman's now-former teammate, receiver Jarvis Landry, by surprise.
The three-time Pro Bowler, who came to Cleveland in a March trade from Miami, mentored Coleman during their few months together. Landry convinced the 24-year-old to change his diet and schooled him on what it takes to succeed.
"Just continue to work hard, continue to grind at it," said Landry, who spoke to Coleman after the trade became official. "I think he's got a great grasp of that. And who knows, maybe in Buffalo that continues to carry over, and he has a hell of a career."
Coleman also had issues off the field.
He was named in a police report regarding an alleged felonious assault last year, but never charged. He was also sent home from the Browns' trip to Houston for missing curfew while he was injured.
The Bills were assured Coleman doesn't face possible NFL disciplinary action resulting from the alleged assault.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report. Adidas Jamie Benn Jersey
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