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Game Preview: Timberwolves vs. Trailblazers
Monday, March 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Minnesota (25-37) is coming off a four-game road stretch in which they played the Rockets, Kings, Jazz, and Spurs, going 2-2 in that stint. In their most recent game, versus the Spurs, the Wolves blew a once 12-point lead, eventually losing in overtime to the second best team in the West. Ricky Rubio had himself a night, securing a triple double with 11 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns ended with a team-high 24 points.
For Portland, their most recent outing was against the lowly Brooklyn Nets last Saturday, a game in which they won 130-116. C.J. McCollum went off for a game-high 31 points, also adding 5 assists and 5 boards in a solid performance. The Blazers currently sit at 26-35, good for ninth in the Western Conference standings.
PG: Ricky Rubio #9
SG: Brandon Rush #4
SF: Andrew Wiggins #22
PF: Gorgui Dieng #5
C: Karl-Anthony Towns #32
PG: Damian Lillard #0
SG: C.J. McCollum #3
SF: Maurice Harkless #4
PF: Noah Vonleh #21
C: Jusuf Nurkic #26
Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic – out/season (recurring ankle pain), Zach LaVine – out/season – (Torn left ACL), Adreian Payne – out (illness)
Blazers: Evan Turner – out (hand), Ed Davis – out/season (shoulder), Festus Ezeli – out (knee)
These two teams last met January 1 at the Target Center, as Portland walked away with the 95-89 victory. C.J. McCollum exploded for 28 points in the second half, scoring a game-high 43 in total, exploiting the Wolves defense every step of the way. Star point guard Damian Lillard was sidelined for the game due to a previously injured ankle.
For the Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins lead the way in the scoring department with 24 points. He also added 5 assists in the losing effort. Karl-Anthony towns had a quiet game, only scoring 11 points. Towns managed to snag 13 boards in 34 minutes played.
Portland will look a bit different from the last time Minnesota saw them. They made a trade sending big Mason Plumlee to Denver for new starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic is a big, strong body down low, and should be a good matchup for Karl-Anthony Towns or Gorgui Dieng.
It also should be noted that Ricky Rubio is playing extremely well as of late, doing a bit of everything. He is fresh off a triple-double against a good Spurs team, and should have no problem continuing his hot streak tonight against a Blazers team that is not known for its defense at the guard position, ranking in the bottom-half of the league.
TV: Fox Sports North – Dave Benz (play-by-play), Jim Peterson (analyst)
Radio: 830 WCCO-AM – Alan Horton (play-by-play)
(All stats found on nba.com, and basketball-reference.com)