Without Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin, the Wolves are down 62.6 of their 105.5 points per game, and despite a decent first quarter, the Blazers are a tough team to beat even with a fully healthy roster. That was the situation tonight.
"I thought they played well. They played hard," Rick Adelman said following the game. "That team is a great offensive team. They shoot the heck out of it. Aldridge inside and Lillard had an off game because of foul trouble, but they have a lot of weapons. It's really hard to contain them."
Still, they made it interesting, taking it all the way to the final quarter. Ultimately, the Wolves couldn't pull off the upset, losing to Portland 117-110 tonight at the Target Center.
Aside from the first quarter's final minute, the first half was a surprisingly good one. Among the oddities included 14 points on 5-11 shooting from Ricky Rubio, and some steady work in the post from Shabazz Muhammad, who had 9 of his 12 points in that first half.
"We just had to take the opportunity, as we said before, coach is saying it's next man up," Muhammad said in the locker room. "I think we did a great job of having a good spirit out there and playing hard. Obviously, some calls didn't go our way, but that happens. I think we played really hard and did things we had to do but came up short."
Rubio kept up his play in the second half, and for the majority of the time, the Wolves kept up pace as well. Much to the surprise of just about everyone, the Wolves kept pace with Portland for virtually the entire game. The Blazers, not surprisingly, eventually managed to pull away at about the 6-minute mark in the 4th, with LaMarcus Aldridge getting a plethora of good looks as the game winded down.
Considering the circumstances, it was a good game overall. Ricky Rubio's play in the scoring column was the best we've seen in a long, long time, setting a new career high in scoring (25). Chase Budinger's shot looked more like the Chase shot that we're used to, and Shabazz Muhammad showed some consistency in the post. They did a good job on Damian Lillard, who shot 3-10 and was in foul trouble for most of the night. Even with his problems, the combination of Aldridge and Wesley Matthews got it done in the 4th.
Tonight's loss was the final game in a stretch where they played 4 games in 5 days. They'll get a few days off, and will get back to the court on Monday at home against the Houston Rockets.