NBA Playoffs 2018: Rockets vs. Timberwolves Game 4 score, series schedule, TV channel, online stream

The Timberwolves came into Game 4 with a fire to pull off two wins at home. They made James Harden uncomfortable early and entered halftime done one point. Then the Rockets scored 50 points in the third quarter, and Harden came alive to trounce Minnesota, 119-100. Both teams now head to Houston for a crucial Game 5 with the Rockets leading 3-1.

The Rockets clinched the best record in the league way before end of the regular season, but the Wolves didn't know their postseason fate until a dramatic 112-106 overtime win over the Nuggets on the final day sent them to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Wolves were expected to make a leap this season, and might be better than a traditional No. 8 seed since they're getting Jimmy Butler back after a 17-game absence due to a knee injury.

Here is everything you need to know about what could be the best first-round series of them all:

No. 1 Houston Rockets (65-17) vs. No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35)

Playoff series schedule

Season series: 4-0, Rockets

Last season's playoff results: Rockets eliminated (4-2) by Spurs in conference semifinals; Wolves making first playoff appearance since 2003-04 season.

Injury report: Houston's Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) is expected to miss the entire first round series. Minnesota's Jeff Teague played Game 4 despite suffering a jammed finger in the first half. Tyus Jones (knee) sat out Game 4.

Rockets' starting lineup: G Chris Paul; G James Harden; F Trevor Ariza; F P.J. Tucker; C Clint Capela

Timberwolves' starting lineup: G Jeff Teague; G Jimmy Butler; F Andrew Wiggins; F Taj Gibson; C Karl-Anthony Towns

Houston wins if ...

As long as the Rockets play the way they've played all year, they shouldn't have a problem with the Wolves. Minnesota has struggled defensively all year long, so they should have trouble keeping up with Houston's high-octane attack. Clint Capela is a big enough body to make things difficult for Karl-Anthony Towns and force him to stay connected on the defensive end, while P.J. Tucker should be able to defend Jimmy Butler and keep him from taking over offensively.

Minnesota wins if ...

A lot has to go right for the Wolves to pull off the upset. First and foremost, they have to lock down James Harden, which will largely be the responsibility of Jimmy Butler. Second, they have to hope the Rockets go ice-cold from the 3-point line in at least three of the games, and shoot the lights out themselves. Karl-Anthony Towns has the ability to take over games offensively, especially if Houston goes small, and he'll need to have the series of his life if they're going to win.

SportsLine projections

According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, Houston has a 76.2 percent chance to win the first round and a 43.1 percent chance to reach the conference finals. SportsLine will have game-by-game gambling advice for every playoff series here.

2018 NBA Playoff Bracket

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