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Defense Fails Again in 112-100 Loss to Blazers

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The Wolves had no chance tonight on the second night of a back to back as their defense collapses again.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In truth, this was never a contest. The Blazers were hot from the start, and the Wolves had very little energy after their overtime loss in Los Angeles on Friday, and the result was completely predictable: a defense that offered little resistance in yet another loss, the Wolves fifth in a row.

The Blazers were ahead from the start, but made the decisive run at the end of the second quarter, to lead by 14 at the break. By the end of the third quarter, the Blazers had scored 94 points, shot 65 percent from the field (and 9-17 from three) and led by 20. The game was over.

There really isn’t much to say about this one—it was a schedule loss at the end of another losing season. The Wolves defensive collapse over the last few games continued, and the Wolves never had a chance.

C.J. McCollum once again killed the Wolves, pouring in 32 on an astounding 11-13 from the field. He combined with Damian Lillard (21 on 8-13) to lead a dominant Blazers offense. Jusuf Nurkic was also very impressive, finishing with 14-9-4 in 23 minutes. I loved that trade for the Blazers when it happened, and adding Nurkic along with a first round pick seems to be paying dividends. The Blazers have now gone 11-5 since inserting Nurkic into the starting lineup and are putting a lot of pressure on the Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Let’s hit some notes and go to bed

  • At least Thibs didn’t run his starters into the ground in this lost cause. Neither Ricky Rubio nor Andrew Wiggins played in the fourth quarter.
  • Rubio shot it well (6-11) and scored 16, but only had four assists. The team as a whole only had 13 assists, a result of stagnant movement.
  • Kris Dunn had his second straight strong game—scored 17 with four boards and a couple of steals. Good to see. He’s playing exclusively with another point guard now; he came in for Brandon Rush in the both the first and third quarters.
  • Speaking of Rush, he’s been utterly invisible recently, and failed to score tonight in 15 minutes.
  • Adreian Payne made his first appearance since before missing time with his blood condition.
  • Wolves outscored 33-6 from beyond the arc.