Who: Portland Trail Blazers (25-37) at Minnesota Timberwolves (35-29)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -13.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
❇️ STATEMENT SATURDAY ❇️— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 5, 2022
Wolves vs. Blazers
7pm CT, @TargetCenterMN
️ » https://t.co/5K3fJkR9fa
Preview » https://t.co/5ix8YOPh9u pic.twitter.com/sRhsWUKKfZ
What To Watch For
The Timberwolves Express rolls through Target Center later tonight as Minnesota hosts the Portland Trail Blazers in the second night of yet another back-to-back. If you missed Friday night’s game against OKC, the Wolves put on a scoring clinic against the Thunder, led by 74 points from their bench. Minnesota’s reserves were so unstoppable on Friday that the home team had to call in reinforcements to try and slow them down:
Them: “why do you always complain about the Timberwolves getting a bad whistle?”— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) March 5, 2022
All jokes aside, last night was about as good of an outcome as you could hope for on the first night of a back-to-back, with the good guys securing an easy victory while all five starters playing 25 minutes or less. The “Best Lineup Ever” should have plenty of gas left in the tank as they return home for their second game in less than 24 hours.
On the other end of the ledger — the Trail Blazers. As you know by now, Portland was extremely active prior to the NBA Trade Deadline, shipping out guys like Robert Covington, Norman Powell, and CJ McCollum, and getting very little in return (other than a few picks and some serious cap relief). The Blazers currently find themselves just 1.5 games out of the 10-seed, but considering the fact that they lose their pick if they make the playoffs, there is very little incentive for the PNW’s only NBA team to chase wins at the moment.
In a weird NBA scheduling wrinkle, the Wolves and Blazers will actually square off again on Monday — same place (Target Center), same time (7:00pm CST). Portland is almost as short-handed as Oklahoma City was, so the Wolves should be able to take care of business over the next few days and continue to stock up on real victories, not just moral ones.
Wolves vs. Blazers tonight (6:30 Pre, 7:10 Tip)— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 5, 2022
MIN has won 3 straight & led by 20+ in all of them.
PDX has lost 3 straight & trailed by 30+ in all of them.
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tonight's game vs Portland:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) March 5, 2022
Beverley - Right Ankle Soreness
Edwards - Left Patella Tendinopathy
Wright IV - Left UCL Injury
No true surprises here, although the addition of Patrick Beverley as QUESTIONABLE (right ankle soreness) is a tad worrisome. The bigger story is obviously Anthony Edwards, who will miss his third consecutive game as he deals with left patella tendinopathy. The Wolves have shown to have plenty of firepower off the bench to supplement ANT’s absence, most notably Malik Beasley and Jaylen Nowell. Minnesota will need to rely on them yet again tonight as they look to keep their winning streak rolling.
On the other end of the court, the Blazers’ injury report is... definitely something:
Eric Bledsoe (left Achilles), Josh Hart (rest), Joe Ingles (left knee), Damian Lillard (core muscle), Nassir Little (left shoulder), Didi Louzada (left knee), Jusuf Nurkic (left foot) and Justise Winslow (right Achilles) are out for Saturday’s game at Minnesota.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 5, 2022
Practically half of the Pacific Northwest is out due to some sort of injury/rest, which means it will once again be the Anfernee Simons show tonight. As mentioned earlier, Portland is still technically very much in the hunt for a play-in spot, but considering they are giving Josh Hard a “rest” night despite playing like three times over the last ten days, it does not seem like the Blazers are all that interested in securing W’s.
Prediction time: I can’t remember off the top of my head the last time the Wolves were double-digit favorites, but that’s the case tonight and it’s probably well-deserved. As Alan Horton pointed out, Portland has trailed by 30+ in their last three games, and I expect a similar result tonight with the Wolves returning home and being at (almost) full strength. Take the Wolves, lay the points, and enjoy your Saturday evening. Wolves 134, Blazers 110.
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