clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wolves at Blazers: Another Night Without Butler

New, comments

The Wolves are on the road again likely without Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves (31-18) at Portland Trailblazers (25-22)

9:00 PM CST

CSNW, FSN

ANDREW WIGGINS, EVERYBODY.

He’s pretty good at times and last game was one of those times. Andrew reached 40 points thanks to a late technical free throw when the Clippers’ coaches started dropping like flys. The 39 he scored earlier were from nearly everywhere else on the court, showing just how potent of an offensive weapon he can be.

The team will look to him to carry the load tonight, though hopefully with a little more help from Karl-Anthony Towns this game, due to Jimmy Butler likely missing his third straight game.

Before the year began the big fret was what would happen to the team if they lost one of their big three for an extended amount of time.

The Wolves lost two games that Butler missed earlier in the season, however, they’ve bounced back this time with two straight wins without him. It’s exciting to see Towns and Wiggins carry the team to meaningful wins against good opponents.

They have another tough one tonight as they are in Portland to take on the cantankerous Damian Lillard, who has finally returned to the All-Star game after a two-year snubbing hiatus.

Oh yeah, did I forget to say my congratulations to Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns? The team has two All-Star selections for the first time since, you know.

Now I am just wondering what KAT is going to be like in an All-Star game. I assume he goes for a triple-double. He plays as if it’s the NBA finals.

On to the game at hand!

The Blazers are currently the seventh seed, a division rival, and are coming off a tough loss to Denver on the road. They let the game slip away in the final minutes after having led for most of the fourth quarter.

The one-two punch of Lillard and C.J. McCollum is tough to defend, especially with Butler out, which may lead to more Tyus Jones minutes. He’s been a great defensive player for the team and shouldn’t be overpowered too much by the Portland guards.

Jeff Teague has stepped it up on that end as well lately, maybe due to Jones’ play while he was out, and he’s coming off a fantastic game where he scored 30 points with 17 free throw attempts.

Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per game in his last ten, and their team is eighth in rebounding. The Wolves will need to box out and prevent second chances. They are 16th in the league in opponent second chance points.

Jamal Crawford is ‘unlikely to play’ according to Thibs earlier today. the team has looked great with Marcus Georges-Hunt on the floor.

He’s been making plays on defense for the most part, and he fouled out early in the last game limiting his minutes, but he’s shown he knows how to make the extra pass as well. He’s definitely a plus on defense compared to Crawford, and defense will probably be more important tonight.

Again, with Butler out, I still like the team’s odds to win this game. High usage Wiggins, All-Star KAT, and Teague will be able to carry this one to victory.

Projected Starters:

Wolves:

Jeff Teague

Andrew Wiggins

Nemanja Bjelica

Taj Gibson

Karl-Anthony Towns

Blazers:

Damian Lillard

C.J. McCollum

Evan Turner

Al-Farouq Aminu

Jusuf Nurkic

Prediction: Wolves 112, Blazers 107. KAT flirts with a triple-double.