Harden near milestone as Rockets host Timberwolves (Apr 12, 2017)
HOUSTON — With their attention at least partially focused on their first-round playoff opponent since last week, the Houston Rockets have performed like a distracted squad ready for the regular season to end and for the postseason to commence.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves (31-50) paying a visit to Toyota Center on Wednesday night, one more game stands between Houston (54-27) and its Western Conference first-round showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the third seed in their possession since the calendar turned, the Rockets have been tweaking rotations and striving to maintain health down the stretch.
Coach Mike D’Antoni has taken to resting starters in recent games. Houston played without forward Trevor Ariza, reserve guard Eric Gordon and reserve center Nene in its 135-128 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. The following night in Los Angeles, the Rockets were again without Nene, plus guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams and center Clint Capela.
“I think our guys are ready,” D’Antoni said. “The biggest thing is we wanted to get some guys some minutes. I was under a minutes restriction for a lot of guys, and I thought they got some good work in. Overall, (the result is) to be expected.”
In their final tuneup for the postseason, the Rockets have a…