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Game Preview #66: Blazers at Wolves

The charred remains of the Blazers try their luck against the Wolves for the second time in 48 hours.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a spirited performance by the visiting Blazers Saturday evening, as recapped by Brendan Hedtke, the Wolves find themselves on the winning side of a 4-game streak and look primed to push that to 5.

But the Wolves NEVER win the back end of a 2-game series!

Though true, Portland is without their explosive young guard, Anfernee Simons, who accounted for over 30% of his team’s total points the other day. Can Brandon Williams, Keon Johnson, and the noggin of Drew Eubanks get their revenge at Target Center?


Game Info

Who: Portland Trail Blazers (25-38; 11th) at Minnesota Timberwolves (36-29; 7th)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


Injury Report


What To Watch For

  • The Wolves offense has continued to thrive, but will the defense continue its dive? Alan Horton pulled some scoring numbers during the 4-game streak below so I decided to take a look at the defensive numbers expecting the worst. However, I was surprised to see that their DRTG is actually 111.4 - That’s good for 8th in the league! I doubt the Blazers will continue their outlier shooting performance from Saturday (47.1% FG; 42.1% 3P) and without Simons, I have no idea who’s going to launch basketballs at the hoop for them.
  • Speaking of offense, if Patrick Beverley and D’Angelo Russell decide to sit tonight (DNP - Sympathy), then who’s going to run the Wolves offense? Jordan McLaughlin has been outstanding. Karl-Anthony Towns is just as capable of a point-center. I’ll be most carefully watching my fellow Leo Leandro Bolmaro on the bench to see if his name gets called for some scraps again.
  • I’ll also be watching the NBA scoreboard at large. The final quarter of this season is bringing back some ol’ 2017-2018 Wolves vibes, as the Wolves postseason hopes could be dependent on the other teams in their conference. Most notably, the Warriors are out/resting their starters against the 6th seed Nuggets, but will Denver fall for a trap game tonight? The 4th seed Jazz are playing the 5th seed Mavericks so someone’s dropping 0.5 games back there. The Wolves are currently:

    2.5 GB from Denver
    3.5 GB from Dallas
    5 GB from Utah

The chase continues...


Predictions

  • Malik Beasley leans into the heel and comes out wearing an Anthony Edwards-esque boxing robe and gloves. Eubanks-Beasley II will be lit. I’m predicting 3rd quarter victory for Drew via disqualification after he gets his ear bitten off.
  • KAT sleepwalks to a triple-double as the debate rages on about eliminating positions for the all-NBA team awards. Jaylen Nowell makes [insert random name generator] touch Earth after a #SCTop10 crossover. Josh Okogie and Jake Layman get into a personal 3-point shootout from hell in the 4th quarter. Timberwolves 122, Blazers 100.