• Rockets leading scorer James Harden will miss Saturday’s tilt with the Timberwolves with a sore left foot. Jeremy Lin will start in Houston’s backcourt alongside Patrick Beverley in the absence of Harden, who has battled lingering discomfort in both feet throughout the early season. Minnesota rookie forward Shabazz Muhammad, meanwhile, is active and available after missing the last five games with a sprained right ankle.
  • The Wolves will complete their fifth set of back-to-back games in a three-week span Saturday. Minnesota coach Rick Adelman expressed concern over the toll that the hectic early-season schedule could take on his team, which has gone 1-3 on the second night of its previous four back-to-backs. “I know for a fact [a rough schedule] is reality for us,” Adelman said. “When you play four [games] in five nights, you’d rather have [other teams] on the same turf you’re on.”
  •  Former Rockets player Kevin Martin will make his first appearance at Toyota Center since he helped the Thunder close out Houston in their first-round playoff series last spring with 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting in Game 6. The veteran shooting guard and Kevin Love, who has averaged 31 points on 67.7 shooting and 12 rebounds over his last two outings on the Rockets’ home court, give Minnesota the NBA’s only duo to rank among the league’s top 10 scorers. “I didn’t think [Love] would score as much as he is. … He’s one of those unique guys at the stretch-four who can bang and rebound, and he has a jump hook that’s really solid,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “I think Kevin [Martin] is one of those guys who plays well with bigs that can really pass. … It’s all that cutting and movement. With all that cutting and movement, guys are hitting you when you’re open.”
  • The Rockets have scored at least 109 points in six consecutive contests, the longest streak of its kind in the NBA since the Spurs reached 109 in seven straight during April 2012. Houston will look to extend this run against a Wolves team that has surrendered an average of 110.0 points while dropping three straight on the road. “This is the highest scoring team in the league, and they really come at you,” Adelman said. “We have to find a way to stay in the game in the first half and just maintain throughout the course of the game.”

Matt Miller

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