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Game Preview: Wolves at Blazers

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Minnesota stays at home for the second leg of their doubleheader

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota (8-30) vs Portland (22-15)

7:00pm CST

FS North / WCCO Radio

There aren’t too many new storylines to follow tonight, given that it’s the second night of a back-to-back against the same team, but Minnesota should hope to follow a similar blueprint to last night’s game.

While Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell are out, the best case scenario against good teams is to just be competitive in a losing effort. I’m not for outright tanking, but that’s not really what’s happening when some of your best players are out. If the Wolves can just be competitive again, that’s a really good outcome.

Obviously, if they’re able to pull out a win, that would be awesome too, but all I’m really hoping for is to see the young guys play well in a game close enough to actually be meaningful to their development.

On that note, I’m especially interested to see how Anthony Edwards looks tonight. While that’s certainly the case every night, he has struggled in back-to-backs this year. That’s fair and mostly to be expected, since the NBA season is much, much more physically demanding than a college one. Nonetheless, it would be nice to see Edwards begin to adjust to life in the NBA and continue on his streak of better performances.

As always, much of my analysis on Edwards will be based around his shot distribution. He can’t and shouldn’t outright eliminate jumpers, but the more he attacks the rim, the better at this stage of his career. Last night, he took seven of his eighteen field goal attempts were threes. If he could swing that balance a bit more in favor of twos, that would be ideal.

Beyond that, I’m excited to see what Portland does to defend Karl-Anthony Towns, and how Towns will respond to that. I’d be surprised if they went with the same strategy as the night before, so there could be a fun game of chess, there.

Lastly, Damian Lillard will be on my television, and that is always a good thing. Let’s enjoy.

Projected Lineups

Blazers

Damian Lillard

Gary Trent, Jr.

Derrick Jones, Jr.

Robert Covington

Enes Kanter

Wolves

Ricky Rubio

Anthony Edwards

Jake Layman

Jarred Vanderbilt

Karl-Anthony Towns