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Game Preview: Wolves at Blazers

Minnesota looks to stop the bleeding in Portland

Boston Celtics v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (11-15) at Portland Trailblazers (11-15)

When: 8PM CST

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 AM WCCO Radio

Line: MIN +3 | O/U 224.5


Good evening, friends. The Sunday Scaries have hit, and the skidding Minnesota Timberwolves are here to save the day. Sigh.

Portland is somehow in a worse place than Minnesota is, given expectations, but to call this a battle between two struggling teams would be putting it lightly. We know Minnesota has lost their last five, but Portland has lost their last four games, all without Damian Lillard.

Lillard will be back in the lineup tonight after missing about a week with an abdominal injury, as will D’Angelo Russell who was nursing a sore ankle.

Portland has played poorly enough to force first year signal caller Chauncey Billups to make a change in the starting lineup, moving Larry Nance Jr to the starting lineup in place of Robert Covington.

Nance is a really, really good player, and while I loved Covington during his time in MN, this seems like an overdue move for the Blazers. They’re just too small with Covington as the starting power forward, and Cov is misused on this roster anyways. I’d guess we’ll hear his name in trade rumors soon.

It’s just time for Minnesota to stop the bleeding, though. They’ve been blown out in three straight games. At a certain point pride needs to play a factor here, and tonight would be the appropriate time for that to kick in.

Schematically, Minnesota is a bit stuck, but it will help to have Russell back, even if he is on a minutes restriction. Beyond that, though, it would help Minnesota immensely if Anthony Edwards snapped out of the funk he’s been in lately.

I’m expecting Ant to bust out tonight and have a big game, partly because Portland’s guards are incredibly poor on defense, and are way too small to deal with his physicality and size. Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Norman Powell are all right around 6’3”, and lack the strength to contain Edwards. Ant should get to the rim at will tonight.

Injury Report

Finally, Minnesota is practically fully healthy. D’Angelo Russell is listed as questionable but is expected to play. If he does indeed start, I’ll be interested to see how they keep Russell in the flow of the game while keeping his minutes down. Chris Finch loved bringing Russell off the bench while he was on a minutes restriction last year because it was easier to manage his minutes load.

Damian Lillard should play tonight, it seems, but it’ll be interesting to see how effective he is. Before sitting out due to his abdominal injury, Lillard was posting career worst shooting numbers (.397/.302 splits).

Give me the Wolves 119-114.