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Game Preview #38: Blazers at Wolves

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After a blowout victory in New Orleans, the Wolves return home for a two-game series against the Portland Trailblazers.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Portland Trailblazers (21-15) at Minnesota Timberwolves (8-29)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Fox Sports North (streaming on the Fox Sports Go app)
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


What To Watch For

How about a winning streak (you know, that thing where you win one game and then you win the game after that)? In a condensed season that has somehow felt like it’s taken multiple years to complete, the Wolves haven’t strung together consecutive victories since the first two games of the season when they defeated the Pistons at home and then surprised the Jazz on the road. Prior to that, Minnesota hadn’t won consecutive games since January 5, 2020.

By now, I’m sure every Timberwolves fan is well aware of what took place Thursday night down in New Orleans, LA — another blowout. Except this time, it was the Wolves who were on the right side of history, blowing the Pelicans out 135-105 in the most impressive victory I’ve seen with my own two eyes since, umm, 2019?

Coming off career highs for both Jaden McDaniels and Jaylen Nowell, it will be really fascinating tonight to see if those two young Huskies can parlay the momentum from Thursday’s victory into a stretch of sustained, improved play. Both players (McDaniels especially) figure to be key contributors for not only the remainder of this season, but long-term as well, so seeing them follow-up Thursday’s performance with another good game would do wonders for their confidence (as well as mine).

As for this weekend’s opponent (the Wolves and Blazers square off in back-to-back nights), they come to Target Center extremely banged up, with both C.J. McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) still sidelined due to injury. Despite the extended absence for two of Portland’s key starters, the Blazers have maintained their foothold in the Western Conference standings, currently sitting at 21-15, good enough for 6th place in the West.

It’ll be a reunion of sorts this weekend as Robert Covington makes his return to Minneapolis, where he may or may not still have pet snakes living in a downtown condo. It’ll also be the first time Derrick Jones, Jr. visits Target Center, a place he almost called home this past fall.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow (Sunday, March 14, 2021) at 2:00 A.M, which means it’s time for our clocks to “spring forward” an hour.

Injury Reports

For the Wolves, it’s the same setup tonight as it was on Thursday. With Rubio listed as the team’s only true point guard, expect another heavy dose of Point Nowell, which has proved to be a worthy gamble (at least lately).

As for the Blazers, they will once again be without the service of C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins, meaning we should see extra run for guys like Enes Kanter and Minnesota’s own Gary Trent, Jr.

Have a great weekend, everybody!