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!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!