The Wolves came in riding a season-high tying three-game winning streak and had a chance to push it to 4 against a Portland team without their All-Star big man: LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Wolves pounced on them early behind their own All-Star big man. Love scored 13 of his 31 points in the first quarter as the Wolves. The Blazers threw a number of defenders at Love (Victor Claver, Dorrell Wright, Robin Lopez and then Thomas Robinson). Robinson definitely had the most success, but that didn't come until later in the second half.
The Wolves continued their stellar play early in the second quarter behind the play of J.J. Barea. J.J. scored 12 of his season-high tying 21 points in that second quarter. He hit a number of tough shots and aided the Wolves to a big lead. The Blazers came roaring back late in the second quarter and ended the half on an 8-0 run to keep it at an 8-point game at halftime.
As we've seen so many times the past few seasons, it was the second half where the Wolves fell to shambles. The Wolves went from up double-digits to down double-digits.
The Wolves looked somewhat gassed, but the also looked just disinterested as the Blazers rallied to ultimately win this game.
Unfortunately I had to listen to the Blazers broadcast and it was incredibly dreadful. Every call against the Blazers was a crime and every call for the Wolves was...a crime. Every time I'm forced to listen to an opposing broadcast, it makes me appreciate Dave & Jim even more.
The Blazers held the Wolves to just 11 points through the first 9 minutes of the final quarter, until Adelman 'called off the dogs' and inserted the deep rotational players in which Price scored 5 and Dieng added a free throw.
It was slightly surprising that Adelman didn't keep the starters out there a bit longer. He put the deep bench players in with 3:36 to play and the Wolves down 14. I don't think the Wolves would've made a run...so it really doesn't matter.
As good as J.J. Barea was in the first half, he was equally as bad in the second. Unfortunately, he was kept in the game through the fourth quarter instead of Ricky Rubio (which is something I ALWAYS think is a mistake). Rubio ended up playing just 23 minutes and finished with 5 points & 11 assists.
Tonight's box score...
The Wolves did an excellent job pushing the pace and getting easy buckets in their game last night in Utah. The complete opposite was true tonight. They fell into Portland's pace and never got anything going on the break, for those easy buckets that they've come to rely on without their bruising center as the secondary option.
The Wolves move two games below .500 once again, but now they'll have a day off before playing in Phoenix vs. the Suns on Tuesday night. That game will tip at 8pmCST.