After the Wolves’ scorching hot 34-20 first quarter against the Blazers tonight, fueled by terrific shooting from Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio, the question was whether they would be able to hold off Portland for three more.
The answer was no. They could not. Their reliance on mid-range jump shots early suggested that maintaining that pace would be unlikely, as it proved to be, and while they took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter, you could feel the Blazers coming.
And they came in the person of Allan Crabbe, as yet another Blazer had a career night against the Wolves. Crabbe came off the bench to make eight of ten three pointers and score 25, including several as the Blazers made their decisive push.
Meanwhile, the Wolves went cold in the final period. Wiggins, who had a terrific scoring night, began to force the issue and lost his touch, Rubio who was on fire early lost his touch completely, and Karl-Anthony Towns couldn’t find a rhythm. It was an utter nightmare of a fourth quarter offensively, with the Wolves managing just 11 points, four of them once the game was effectively decided. .
We’ve seen this story several times recently, as the bench play to start the second and fourth quarters has been terrible, and has allowed opponents to gain momentum. Once the Blazers got on roll in the fourth, the Wolves couldn’t slow them down even as their own offense completely melted down.
These late night West Coast games are too much for me.
- After Wiggins, Towns, and Rubio, who combined for 79, the next highest scorer was Shabazz Muhammad with seven.
- Wiggins finished with 36 and eight boards, and was aggressive all night. Unfortunately, the Blazers forced him into some very tough ones in the fourth quarter.
- Once again, minutes. 39-40 for Wiggins, Rubio, Towns, and Dieng.
- Bench was the real difference. Crabbe doubled the scoring output of the Wolves bench himself. Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones managed two points (a Jones bucket) after being held scoreless against the Warriors.
- I need sleep.