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Blazers at Timberwolves Game Preview

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The Wolves host the Blazers at Target Center tonight as their brutal schedule run continues.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Blazers at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

The Blazers are in town tonight as this brutal stretch of Western Conference contenders continues for the undermanned Wolves.

The Blazers are on the second night of a back to back, having won in Detroit last night, but that shouldn't stop them from getting their second win of the year against the Wolves after having beaten them handily in Portland less than two weeks ago.

The Blazers sit at 17-4, and have won 14 of their last 15 games. While their schedule hasn't been exactly a murderers row (21st in SoS), they have taken advantage by beating the teams they are supposed to beat. That includes the Wolves, who they eased past last time on the strength of 12 three pointers (six by Wolves-killer Wesley Matthews) and a big game from LaMarcus Aldridge.

That was the game that featured Shabazz Muhammad's break out 28 point performance, and little else good for the Wolves.

Overall the Blazers present excellent balance, sitting in the top six in both offensive and defensive rating, and have very few obvious weaknesses.  They shoot it well from everywhere, including from deep with Matthews and Damian Lillard. LaMarcus Aldridge continues to be lethal from midrange, and Lillard creates tons of opportunities with his penetration.

Defensively they force a lot of misses mostly because, led by Robin Lopez, they defend the rim very well. They also give up the the lowest percentage of 3PA in the league and the 2nd lowest 3P%, a combination that suppresses opponent efg% very effectively (2nd in the league).

The Wolves of course don't take a lot of threes, and in the first meeting went 2-9 from beyond the arc. The Blazers outscored the Wolves by 30 on three pointers that night, something we can expect again tonight and that is probably too much to overcome.

Here's something fun: as of this writing, the current record of the Wolves last three opponents + the Blazers: 66-16. That's a full season's worth of games at a championship level, and that's who the Wolves are seeing every night at the moment. I guess if you are going to suffer, you might as well suffer.

Meanwhile, the cavalry is not coming.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Flip still says most of the injured wolves are weeks away. Pek tried running on treadmill and ankle flared up a bit. No help coming</p>&mdash; Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) <a href="https://twitter.com/APkrawczynski/status/542409767549825024">December 9, 2014</a></blockquote>

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As a result:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Flip basically just said what we&#39;ve all seen: Wolves have switched to rebuild with all these injuries. Focused on incremental development</p>&mdash; Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) <a href="https://twitter.com/APkrawczynski/status/542409497986093056">December 9, 2014</a></blockquote>

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It's another long year in T-Wolves land. I'm not sure what "incremental improvement" looks like, but there is one thing I do know: I'm not going to live forever.