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?
Coach Finch on focus tonight: "Just preach It's About Us, as cliche as it is... We talked openly about not performing great in these scenarios (same team b2b)... These are tough games because of having to fight human nature."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 7, 2022
Mentioned guarding the ball + physicality more
Chris Finch says Ant remains OUT tonight vs. Blazers while Patrick Beverley, Naz Reid & Taurean Prince are available.— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 7, 2022
Portland - G Eric Bledsoe (achilles), G Anfernee Simons (quad) & F Justice Winslow (achilles) are out, F Greg Brown III (illness) & F Elijah Hughes (illness) are probable tonight versus Minnesota.— freeplays (@freeplays) March 7, 2022
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.
Wolves have won 4 straight.— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 7, 2022
They've scored over 125 points in all 4.
They've shot over 50% FG in all 4.
They've shot 40% 3PT or better in all 4.
Their 130.7 ORTG is not only #1 in NBA over the last week -- it's a massive +15.2 pts/100poss higher than the league-average.
- 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 LeoLeandro 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...
- 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.
“I’m wearing this to the game tonight. I’ll be like Muhammad Ali comin’ out.”— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) January 16, 2022
- Anthony Edwards, while wearing a custom Versace robe
(via c_hines33 / IG) pic.twitter.com/vo6jw3z9B3
- 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.
Coach Finch on Malik's ejection & composure: "We weren't very disciplined across the way... delay of games, petulance in general... (When talking to Malik) It's a shame you were playing so well, he kinda laughed because he knew what we were talking about."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 7, 2022