The Minnesota Timberwolves meet the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of a best-of-seven Western Conference NBA Playoff series on Sunday, April 15, 2018 (4/15/18) at Toyota Center in Houston Texas.
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So far the trade for Chris Paul to give the Houston Rockets another superstar to help James Harden has worked famously.
Their work in the regular season led the Rockets to a franchise-record 65 wins, their first No. 1 seed and sixth straight playoff appearance. They are looking to win the title for the first time capturing back-to-back championships in 1994-95.
For the 32-year-old Paul, it’s a chance for him to finally shake off years off playoff woes after making nine playoff trips without advancing past the second round. But if he is haunted by the ghosts of playoffs past, he wouldn’t acknowledge it and was dismissive when asked if he thought this was his best chance to win it all.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think about all that.”
What he and the Rockets do know is that they’re facing a talented team in the eighth-seeded Timberwolves, who had to win their last regular-season game to get into the postseason. They ended the NBA’s longest active playoff drought with their berth, putting them back in the postseason for the first time since 2004 when they lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
Flemington native and Hunterdon Central Regional High School product Jason Cabinda was tasked with defending Barkley every day in practice as a middle linebacker, and says that the multitude of ways that Barkley can beat a defense is what sets him apart from other backs.
“It’s just how versatile he is,” Cabinda told NJ Advance Media. “To me, he’s like a scat-back in a big-back’s body. That’s really the best way to put it.”