Timberwolves: After Butler fell to the floor, the play continued and ended with Gibson committing a horse-collar-like takedown of Harden on a layup. Harden made the desperation heave and ensuing free throw to put the Rockets up 14. … Towns and fellow 7-footer Cole Aldrich served as human crutches in escorting Butler to the locker room.
Rockets: With a steal in the third quarter, Paul passed Allen Iverson for 12th on the NBA’s career list with 1,984. Mookie Blaylock is 11th with 2,075 steals. … In his second game with the Rockets, veteran small forward Joe Johnson had 10 points in 22 minutes.
“We see it every year,” Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told ESPN. “It’s part of being informed of what’s going on.”
“The NBA is always a headache,” William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said. “Sharper players already have lower limits.”
However, this particular stretch might force one bookmaker into uncharted territory.
“It [may] get to the point as weeks go by [where I don’t] book those games,” Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller said. He did promise lower betting limits for games involving teams out of playoff contention.
Twenty-four games remain in the regular season, with the Warriors a half-game behind the Houston Rockets for the top spot in the Western Conference. Whether or not they’ve received enough rest during the break, they know it’s time to perform if they want to make a trip to the Finals for the fourth consecutive season.
Curry is confident that his team will be focused for the stretch run.
“We’ve got  games before the playoffs to chase another championship,” Curry said, “so [we’ll be] ready to hit the ground running when we get back.”
The Rockets have won 11 straight at home against the Timberwolves and will go for a four-game season series sweep in Minnesota on March 18. In their previous three meetings, Houston overwhelmed Minnesota from beyond the arc, making 19.5 3-pointers per game. But whether it was rust or an improved defensive strategy from Minnesota, Houston was limited to just 14 of 38 3-pointers on Friday night.