The Minnesota Timberwolves missed out on a MUCH needed win tonight in Portland. With it, they dropped to 5th in the Northwest, 12th in the Western Conference as Portland moved ahead of them in the standings. There's a good chance that with this loss, Minnesota has fallen out of the playoff picture. There's obviously still a chance, but the Wolves need to make a BIG push and even if they have a 'friendly' schedule, it's looking grim.
The Timberwolves move to 25-29 on the year and have now lost 7 of their last 9 on the road.
The Blazers outscored the TWolves in every quarter en route to a 13-point victory over their division rivals. With this victory the Blazers avoided the first TWolves season series sweep since the 2004-2005 season. The TWolves end this season 2-1 vs. the Blazers as this was the third and final meeting of these two teams.
Despite Portland basically 'blowing up' their roster by trading away starters Gerald Wallace & Marcus Camby for role players and bench warmers (Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet, Shawne Williams and Mehmet Okur). Then they waived oft-injured center and former #1 pick Greg Oden and fired head coach Nate McMillan. Despite all that, the Blazers defeated a TWolves team (to be fair--without three of their top four scorers: Michael Beasley, Nikola Pekovic, J.J. Barea) 106-113.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers for each team...
HOT: Tonight the TWolves finally got a solid performance out of Derrick Williams starting at power forward, since Nikola Pekovic has been out with bone spurs in his ankle. Had a solid and efficient shooting night. For the Blazers it was LA & Batum. Batum lit it up from three and LA controlled the paint as we saw the battle between Love & Aldridge. Ultimately it was a pretty even matchup between these two. LA shot a higher percentage and had more blocks, but Love had one more rebound and had more assists and steals.
NOT: The TWolves defense. The Timberwolves just didn't get stops in the fourth quarter or all game for that matter. Minnesota allowed Portland to score 119 points on 52% shooting. Enough said.
MISC.: Ellington added 12pts off the bench.....Hickson added 15pts & 9reb starting in the frontcourt with Aldridge.....Ray Felton nearly had a triple-double, he finished with 10pts, 8reb & 11ast......Off the bench Jamal Crawford added 12pts & Luke Babbitt added 8pts......
KEY STATS: The TWolves shot a decent percentage (obviously Portland hit higher percentages in every category) and the Wolves only committed 8 turnovers--allowing just 10 Blazer points, while forcing Portland into a couple more for 19 points! Minnesota's downfall was being beaten out on the boards, a +8 for the Blazers. And ultimately, it comes down to something that's a little hard to read on a stat sheet, but--the Wolves' lackluster defense, they allowed 27 points in the first quarter and that was the lowest-scoring quarter for Portland tonight (30 in the 2nd and 31 in both the 3rd & 4th quarters).
UP NEXT: Monday, April 2nd vs. the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion, tipoff 9pmCT
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!