Steve Francis may excel against Jason Kidd, but it's Terrell Brandon who is giving the Rockets nightmares.
Brandon scored 24 points and handed out 9 assists while Kevin Garnett was 3 assists short of a triple double as the Wolves, who have roughed up the Rockets all season, did it again with a 100-86 win in Houston.
The loss is the third straight for the Rockets and drops their record to 24-38.
The only good news? Well, that is if you could call it "good"... the loss drops the Rockets into "sole possession" of the 6th worst record in the league, "brightening" their lottery chances.
As for me, as if I didn't have to endure enough hell watching the Rockets play sloppy ball against the Wolves, I had to do it with my mother-in-law watching from time to time as well. Frustrated enough, I had to answer such questions as "Minnesota, are they the Lakers?" and "Did Hakeem Olajuwon ever play for Utah?"
I beg you: shoot me now.
Even though Brandon was killing us, Garnett quietly had a huge game, scoring 17, grabbing 15 boards and handing out 7 assists. Wally Szczerbiak missed his first 5 shots, but got aggressive after that, coming up with a series of drives and dunks on fast breaks. He totaled 19 points.
Francis led the Rockets with 19 points, though he shot just 5-13. He also added 5 assists and 6 boards.
In fact, the Rockets as a team shot just 37% from the field, and 26% from long range. What may have been the most embarrassing though was their defense, as the Wolves turned the ball over just 5 times -- twice in the entire first half (both offensive fouls on Szczerbiak).
Carlos Rogers scored 12 points and grabbed 7 boards, but shot just 4-12. Shandon Anderson shot just 1-5. Kelvin Cato 2-6. Bryce Drew 2-7.
Not a pretty game.
Cuttino Mobley did return from Philadelphia ("false labor") by halftime and played well, hitting 4-7 shots for 11 points. Hakeem Olajuwon and Kenny Thomas each added 9.
The Rocks now hit a 5-game East Coast road swing starting on Tuesday against New York (a game on TNT), Milwaukee, Indiana, Toronto and Cleveland.
The good news Part II?
Our lottery position should look even better when it's over.