The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking for just their third home win of the season as they host the Portland Trailblazers Saturday night. The Blazers handed the Wolves one of their seven home losses of the season on November 2nd when they defeated Minnesota 101-106. Damian Lillard led the way in that one with 34 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field including 4-of-9 from deep.
The Wolves are currently 8-10 on the year, 2-7 at home, 1-1 vs. the Northwest, 3-4 vs. the West, and 4-6 in their last 10 outings. The Blazers are 8-12 on the year, 3-7 on the road, 2-1 vs. the Northwest, 7-9 vs. the West, and they are also 4-6 in their last 10 outings.
While losing 7 of their last 9 home games the Timberwolves are giving up 103.4 points and an opponent field goal percentage of 46.9%.
If the Timberwolves want any chance of success vs. these Blazers they'll need to find a way to contain the Portland backcourt of Damian Lillard & C.J. McCollum. Lillard is averaging 29.7 points and 47.2% from the field in his last three games in Minnesota. Lillard is also currently 7th in the NBA in scoring at 24.5 points. After a lot of offseason movement, the Blazers are sporting a brand new starting lineup and as such, C.J. McCollum is Lillard's new running mate in the backcourt. McCollum is averaging 19.6 points per game.
The new-look Blazers said goodbye to four of their starters from a season ago: Wesley Matthews signed as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks; Nicolas Batum was traded to the Charlotte Hornets; LaMarcus Aldridge joined the San Antonio Spurs in free agency; and Robin Lopez jetted away to the Eastern Conference to join the New York Knicks.
Let's take a look at the projected starting lineups in this one...
The Portland Trailblazers have won 27 of the last 32 meetings between these two teams and if the Timberwolves want to even the season series Saturday night, they'll need to find a way to get Karl-Anthony Towns "going".
Towns averaged 16 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in just under 30 minutes per game in his first 13 outings. In the five games since, Towns is averaging 8.4 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 22 minutes a night. Towns is routinely on the bench at the end of games recently much to the chagrin of most Wolves fans.
This is thanks in large part to the solid play from Gorgui Dieng who has been playing those crucial fourth quarter minutes. Dieng is averaging 11 points and 8.2 rebounds in his last five games.
The play of Andrew Wiggins will also be a key element in this one. In that first meeting between these two teams, he finished with just 16 points. However, he is averaging 21.5 points in his last four games vs. Portland.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT, thanks for reading, enjoy the game, and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves have now lost four-straight games and are still winless at home. They lost to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday at the Target Center. The Wolves battled back in that one and gave themselves a chance down the stretch.
This has been the case in each of Minnesota's losses recently. They get down early in games, they battle back to give themselves a chance at the end, but they can't close it out down the stretch.
The Wolves did the same in losses at Indiana vs. the Pacers and back at home on Sunday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.
They'll now go on the road for the next two games--both in Florida, vs. the Heat on Tuesday and the Magic on Wednesday.
The Wolves will have yet another chance to end the skid at home on Friday vs. the Detroit Pistons. That game starts a string of three-straight home games (the other two vs. the Sixers and the Hawks).
Tipoff for Tuesday's game is set for 6:30pmCT.
Sam Mitchell didn't know that he would be without Andrew Wiggins (sore right knee) and Ricky Rubio (sore left knee), until a few minutes before tipoff. Add to that, Kevin Garnett (rest) and Nikola Pekovic (achilles) and the Wolves had a tough go vs. the Hornets which led to another home loss.
The Timberwolves started Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Tayshaun Prince, Adreian Payne, and Karl-Anthony Towns. It was the first change in the starting lineup after beginning the season starting the same unit (Rubio, Wiggins, Prince, Garnett, Towns) for the first six games.
The Wolves were able to jump out to an 11-point lead thanks to some great play from LaVine, Towns, and Payne, however the Timberwolves fell apart when they had to turn to the bench (depleted because second unit players had to start).
The Hornets got back into the game by getting to the free throw line. The Hornets went 14-for-17 from the line in the first quarter alone.
A bench unit led by Jeremy Lamb and Jeremy Lin created all kinds of headaches for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lin finished the night with 19 points, 1 rebound, and 3 assists in 26 minutes off the bench. Lamb chipped in 18 points (12 of which came in the second quarter alone), 4 rebounds and 1 steal in 23 minutes off the bench.
It was the bench unit for the Hornets that put them over the top in this one. The Timberwolves were outscored 23-57 in bench scoring, which was a big difference maker down the stretch.
The Timberwolves also committed 22 turnovers which led to 22 Hornet points. The Wolves did however hold an advantage in one category that they have struggled with this season, rebounding--out-rebounding the Hornets 48-34 on the night.
The Hornets went on a 9-0 between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter and they held onto the lead for the W.
There were bright spots in the game for the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns gave for Wolf Al Jefferson fits all night. Big Al started the game 0-for-6 from the field and 2 of Al's 3 made field goals came with Towns on the bench. Big Al finished with just 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block in 26 minutes.
Towns had another impressive outing with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Zach LaVine led the Wolves with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals as the team's starting point guard. He did commit 8 turnovers on the night. Another 6 turnovers came from Kevin Martin who played a game-high 40 minutes and finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal as the starting shooting guard. Payne started for Garnett and had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal; and Bjelica stayed in his sixth man role and finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block in 28 minutes.
This contest also marked the NBA debut of Tyus Jones who finished with 1 point, and 1 rebound in 11 minutes off the bench. He missed all four of his field goal attempts.
The Wolves move to 0-3 at home, and 4-3 on the year. Next up is Golden State on Thursday. That game will tip at 7pmCT from the Target Center and will be televised nationally on TNT.
The 4-2 Timberwolves fresh off a 10-point victory in Atlanta on Monday night will host the 2-4 Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night at the Target Center.
The Hornets are coming off a Saturday loss to the San Antonio Spurs 94-114. They had won their previous two games over the Bulls (130-105) and the Mavericks (108-94). The Hornets had started the season with three straight losses prior to those two wins (@MIA, @ATL, vs. ATL).
The Timberwolves took 36 games to win 5 games a season ago. This season they have a chance to nab their fifth victory in just 7 contests tonight vs. Charlotte. However, they're facing the Charlotte Hornets who have won three-straight over Minnesota and five of their last six meetings.
The Wolves will be attempting to avoid a third-straight home loss this season, doing so would stretch their consecutive home losses to 11 games as they closed out the 2014-15 season losing 8-straight at home.
The Charlotte Hornets are led by Kemba Walker (17.2 points, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals), Al Jefferson (15.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.0 block), and Nicolas Batum (12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals).
The Minnesota Timberwolves are led by Andrew Wiggins (19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds), Kevin Martin (17.6 points), Karl-Anthony Towns (15.5 points, 10 rebounds, 3.0 blocks), and Ricky Rubio (13 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 2.3 assists).
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
The Timberwolves led by as many as 34 points in this one, but they managed just a 10-point win over the Hawks. Coming into the game, if you said the Wolves would win by 10 (I probably wouldn't have believed it) and everyone would've been thrilled with a double-digit win over a team riding a seven-game winning streak.
It was how they got there, however. The Wolves led by as many as 34 points and they relinquished the entirety of that lead before ending the contest on an 11-0 run to close out the Hawks and take their first win in Atlanta since 2002 (when Wiggins, Towns, and LaVine were all 7 years old)!
The Hawks' largest lead was 2 points late in the fourth quarter as Minnesota led throughout up to that point. The Wolves relied heavily on second-year player Andrew Wiggins down the stretch and he certainly delivered, hitting shot after shot to propel the Wolves to an ultra-impressive W on the road.
Wiggins finished with 33 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. This was Andrew's second-straight 30-point game after he had 31 vs. the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday. This is the first time in his career that Wiggins has had consecutive 30-point games and the sixth thirty-point game of his career.
Towns added 17 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 blocks. Wiggins & Towns were two of six Timberwolves players in double figures on the night: LaVine (13), Martin (13), Bjelica (11), and Rubio (10).
The Hawks were led by 20-point outings from Jeff Teague & Paul Millsap--two players instrumental in Atlanta's big comeback. Teague finished with 24 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks; while Millsap added 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
This is Minnesota's fourth-straight road win to start the season. It is Minnesota's first time starting 4-0 on the road since the 2001-02 season and the first time they've had a four-game road winning streak since January 3rd-19th of 2009.
The win snaps the Hawks' winning streak. They lost their first game of the season to Detroit before winning seven-straight coming into the contest with Minnesota. This moves Minnesota to 4-2 on the year and the Hawks to 7-2.
Had Minnesota lost tonight it would've been the third largest comeback in NBA history (34 points). Luckily, they stayed composed down the stretch and they head back to the Target Center to face the Hornets on Tuesday night with the W. That one tips at 7pmCT, stay tuned for the Gameday preview.
The 3-2 Minnesota Timberwolves will be hosted by the 7-1 Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
The Hawks are looking for an eighth consecutive victory, while the Wolves are looking to remain undefeated on the road. A win for the Wolves tonight would mark the first time Minnesota has started a season 4-0 on the road since 2001-02.
Atlanta's lone loss came at the hands of the Detroit Pistons on opening night. They've since rallied off 7 straight wins and look much like the team that won 60 games a season ago, despite losing starter DeMarre Carroll to free agency (Toronto).
Minnesota's solid start to the season has been their defense. They're allowing opponents to shoot just 39.7% from the field, which is nearly 10% lower than a season ago, when they were last in the League.
Andrew Wiggins finally got off the schneid against the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday. He scored a game-high 31 points aiding the Wolves to a 102-93 overtime victory.
Minnesota's leading scorer, Kevin Martin (18.8ppg) is expected to return tonight after missing the win in Chicago for "personal reasons". It was just one game, but it was nice to see the Wolves second unit (led by Bjelica: 17pts, 11reb, 5ast) step up in his absence and if this is a trend that continues, Kevin Martin could see a new team by the trade deadline this February.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from Phillips Arena, thanks for reading HOWL and enjoy the game!
Andrew Wiggins scored 31 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves clamped down late on the Bulls to secure a 102-93 victory at the United Center in Chicago.
Karl-Anthony Towns added yet another double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while adding another four blocked shots.
The Wolves got big production from their other rookie as well. Nemanja Bjelica finished with a double-double of his own, the first of his NBA career: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Wiggins played a game-high 41 minutes (as did Jimmy Butler), Bjelica played 40 minutes off the bench, both Prince & Rubio played 39 minutes too.
For the first time in his career, Tyus Jones was active because Kevin Martin missed the game for "personal reasons". Jones did not play, neither did Damjan Rudez or Andre Miller.
For the first few games of the season, the talk has been about how Andrew Wiggins needed to step up offensively if the Wolves were going to continue to find success this season. He did just that and against a solid Chicago defense to boot. Wiggins' 31 points came on 11-for-27 shooting from the field, 4-for-5 from deep, and 5-for-10 from the line; also adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block.
Minnesota outscored the Bulls 9-0 in the overtime period, marking the first time in franchise history that Chicago failed to score in an overtime period.
The Bulls got 21 points & 14 rebounds from Pau Gasol, while Tony Snell also added 14 points.
The Timberwolves lost back-to-back games at home (vs. Portland & Miami), but their now 3-2 on the year and a perfect 3-0 on the road this season! It took Minnesota 18 games to win three road games a season ago. This year...it took just three.
The Bulls fresh off a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't seem to give much effort in tonight's game--coming in basically expecting to win.
The Wolves, 3-2, visit the Hawks on Monday evening at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
Seventeen different teams have played five or more games in this young NBA season. Twelve more teams have played four games. The Minnesota Timberwolves are the only team in the NBA that have played less than four games this season.
Tonight they face the Miami Heat who are 2-2 on the season and are looking to rebound from a 92-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Miami earlier this week. The Heat committed a season-high 19 turnovers while finishing with a season-low 13 assists.
One bright spot for the Miami Heat this season has been the play from Dwyane Wade. Wade has began the season with four-straight 20-point outings, despite dealing with some migraines over that time.
The matchup between himself and Andrew Wiggins is one that will certainly be something to look forward to. The matchups between these two a season ago were very fun to watch and it was especially cool to see Wade talking with Wiggins after the game, asking him if he wants to be a great player in this League.
Wiggins, unfortunately, has struggled to begin the season. Through three games he's averaging just 30% shooting from the field, while going 0-for-6 from deep, and committing 3.0 turnovers per game. In Minnesota's 101-106 loss to Portland earlier this week he did finish with 16 points, but shot 5-for-17 from the field.
Minnesota's best player this season has been Karl-Anthony Towns. He's done a bit of everything for Minnesota. Through three games he's averaging 17.7 points (2nd among rookies), 10.3 rebounds (1st among rookies, 9th in NBA), and 2.7 blocks (1st among rookies, 7th in the NBA). In his first two games (@LAL & @DEN) he compiled 42 points and 26 rebounds. In the loss vs. Portland he finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 turnovers, and 5 fouls, so he'll be looking for a bounce back game himself.
However, Towns will be facing the best defensive NBA center he's seen this season. In his first three games, KAT matched up with Roy Hibbert (LAL), Joffrey Lauvergne (DEN), and Mason Plumlee (POR). Tonight he gets Hassan Whiteside, an athletic big known primarily for his shot-blocking prowess as well as his rebounding ability. Whiteside had the lone 20-20 game of his career a season ago in Minneapolis, when he finished with 24 points & 20 rebounds.
The Timberwolves are seeking their first home win, while the Miami Heat are in search of their first road win.
The Timberwolves will be without Nikola Pekovic (achilles). Kevin Martin missed the last two days of practice for "personal reasons", but is expected to suit up and play tonight. The Heat will be without Gerald Green, who is averaging 10.3 points off the bench for Miami this season. He missed Tuesday's game vs. Atlanta and was admitted to an undisclosed hospital on Wednesday for unknown reasons.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center. Enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
It was an emotional home opener for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Just two days after funeral services for their late head coach Flip Saunders, the Wolves were back in action vs. the Portland Trailblazers in front of 18,000 Target Center attendees.
The game was scheduled to tip at 7:00pmCT, but didn't start until 7:40pmCT. The reason was for a terrific presentation hosted by Tom Hanneman that honored the late Saunders with videos from executives and coaches as well as former and current Timberwolf players. It all concluded with a live performance of Hallelujah.
Below are the videos presented during the pre-game scenario followed by the live musical tribute...
There wasn't a dry eye in the house at the Target Center and I admit I definitely choked up myself--particularly when Milt Newton spoke about Flip. Kevin Garnett was one of the only current players not to be a part of the video, reportedly it was too hard emotionally...understandable considering the relationship they had these past twenty years.
On to the recap...
The Timberwolves were absolutely fantastic in the first quarter. They started on an 8-0 run to take an 8-1 lead and led by as many as 17 points. The Wolves ended the first quarter up 34-21, led by Kevin Martin with 11 points and Ricky Rubio with 6pts, 4reb, & 4ast. Damian Lillard finished the first quarter with 10pts, 2ast, & 1stl.
The Timberwolves couldn't recapture that lightning in a bottle they harnessed in the first quarter and they struggled over the final three quarters. The Blazers erased the 17-point deficit and even led by double digits themselves over the final three quarters. The Wolves battled back in the final minutes, but some questionable late-game calls ultimately left the Wolves with their first loss of the season.
Here's the full box score from tonight's contest...
Towns couldn't register his third-straight double-double, but he still looked good throughout on both ends of the floor. It's truly amazing for a rookie how calm and collected he is on both ends of the floor.
Rubio finished just 1 rebound and 1 assist shy of a triple-double. The Wolves were led in scoring by Kevin Martin with another big game off the bench, 24 points. The Wolves desperately need Andrew Wiggins to find his offensive rhythm, especially considering the starting lineup the Wolves put out. They rely heavily on offense from Rubio, Towns, and Wiggins in those first quarters.
Lillard was ultra-impressive with a game-high 34 points in what I believe will be one of many big games courtesy of Lillard this season. Damian being the only starter from the Blazers of a year ago, he is the featured player for this Portland squad. They'll rely heavily on his offensive production night in and night out.
The Timberwolves are back in action on Thursday night vs. the Miami Heat at the Target Center. We leave you with tonight's highlights...
The 2-0 Minnesota Timberwolves will play their home opener Monday night at the Target Center vs. the 1-2 Portland Trailblazers.
The Trailblazers that Minnesota has struggled against in tough matchups the past couple seasons is not the Blazer squad we'll see tonight. The Blazers are a completely different squad with just one holdover starter from a season ago. Three of their starters left via free agency: Wesley Matthews (Dallas), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), and Robin Lopez (New York); while one was traded to the Charlotte Hornets, Nicolas Batum, in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh.
The Blazers will likely go with a starting lineup of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Al-Faroq Aminu, Meyers Leonard, and Mason Plumlee. The Wolves will likely counter with the lineup they've used the past two games: Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Tayshaun Prince, Kevin Garnett, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The individual matchups to watch will certainly come from the backcourt. The Wolves need to limit Damian Lillard if they want to win this game and they'll task Ricky Rubio with keeping him in check. Rubio is a great defender which should make for a compelling matchup. Andrew Wiggins will likely be guarded by Al-Faroq Aminu for the majority of the night. Aminu is one of Portland's best and most versatile defenders, and it is highly unlikely that they'll task C.J. McCollum with guarding the much bigger Wiggins.
The Wolves are 18-8 in home openers. They've won their last 3 as well as 17 of the previous 20 home openers. The Wolves will also be seeking their second 3-0 start in three seasons.
The Wolves will be wearing the commemorative patches on their uniforms starting tonight, honoring Flip Saunders. This is in addition to shooting shirts they are wearing for the month of November.
If the Wolves want to snag another victory and remain undefeated, they could use another big game from their rookie phenom Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is coming off a 28-point, 14-rebound, 4-block outing in Minnesota's 95-78 win in Denver on Friday; preceded by a 14-point, 12-rebound night at Staples Center in a 112-111 victory last Wednesday. Towns is the first teenage rookie to debut with back-to-back double-doubles. That being said he has yet to matchup with a good defensive center, and tonight is another game against a mediocre interior defender: Plumlee (& Chris Kaman off the bench).
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center in what will be an emotional home opener for these Minnesota Timberwolves. Enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!