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Game Preview: Timberwolves vs. Trailblazers
Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Timberwolves (11-22) will look to carry over their solid performance against the Bucks last Friday, as they will face off with the Portland Trail Blazers. In that recent 116-99 win, the Wolves saw the young big three of Wiggins, Towns, and LaVine take over the game, combining to score 73 points. Wiggins ended with 31 points, LaVine added 24 points on six made three’s, and Towns chipped in 18 points of his own.
Shabazz Muhammad also had himself a impressive outing, scoring 22 points off the bench, his high for this season, in 18 minutes played. It was a rare spark from a lowly Wolves bench that we hope to continue seeing for the new year in 2017.
The Trail Blazers are coming off a 110-94 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio on Friday. Damian Lillard was out of the game with an ankle injury. The Blazers currently sit at 14-21, good enough for 10th in the Western Conference standings.
PG: Ricky Rubio #9
SG: Zach LaVine #8
SF: Andrew Wiggins #22
PF: Gorgui Dieng #5
C: Karl-Anthony Towns #32
PG: C.J McCollum #3
SG: Allen Crabbe #23
SF: Maurice Harkless #4
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu #8
C: Mason Plumlee #24
Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic – out/season (recurring ankle pain)
Trailblazers: Damian Lillard – questionable (ankle), Festus Ezeli – out (knee)
The Wolves and Blazers met a total of four times last season, as Portland took the series advantage, winning three of those four games. The most recent meeting of those four took place on April 9 in Portland, as the Wolves managed to escape with a victory.
Karl-Anthony Towns made a post-fadeaway in the final seconds of the game to secure the Minnesota win. Towns ended the night with 27 points and nine rebounds. Andrew Wiggins also scored over 20 points, finishing with 23. Zach LaVine chipped in 10 points as well.
Damian Lillard gave the Minnesota fits in the game, scoring a game-high 31 points and handing out seven assists in the losing effort.
Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard is questionable tonight with an ankle injury he has been dealing with recently, keeping him out of the past few games. It has been reported that Lillard was seen in practice giving it a full-go, and not looking like a man with a bad ankle injury. Lillard will give it a full-go in pregame warmups, and furthermore be a game-time decision tonight.
If Lillard is out, the Wolves defense will switch their focus to C.J McCollum, who is averaging a career-high 22.3 points per game this season. He is a deadly three-point marksman, something the Wolves defense is generally vulnerable to, shooting the deep ball at 42.8 percent.
Also be on the lookout for Zach LaVine to try and continue his hot shooting year. LaVine is currently averaging 7.1 three-point attempts per game this year, with a percentage of .419, a career-high for the third year man out of UCLA. In the most recent game, LaVine buried six three’s.
TV: Fox Sports North – Dave Benz (play-by-play), Jim Peterson (analyst)
Radio: 830 WCCO-AM – Alan Horton (play-by-play)