Minnesota At Portland
When: 10:00 PM
ET, Saturday, January 25, 2014
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon
The Minnesota Timberwolves are on a roll and are once again on the verge of a winning record. The Timberwolves will attempt to move over .500 for the first time since Nov. 23 when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. Minnesota has lost its last eight chances to move above the even point but comes in with a three-game winning streak and knocked off the Golden State Warriors 121-120 on Friday.
The Trail Blazers can score with the Timberwolves and have won four straight at home after a 110-105 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. LaMarcus Aldridge, who was passed over in the fan vote for a starting spot in the All-Star Game by - amongst others - Minnesota’s Kevin Love, went for a career-high 44 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in that win on the night the All-Star vote was announced. “What can you say, man?” Blazers guard Wesley Matthews questioned reporters about Aldridge. “He’s an MVP candidate. Best power forward in the game, I’ve been saying that for two years now.”
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBATV, CSN Northwest (Portland)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (21-21): Love will give Aldridge a good battle in the race for that mantle of best power forward in the game and showed off his all-around skills with 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists on Friday, including the pass that set up Kevin Martin’s go-ahead basket in the final seconds. Minnesota took two in a row from the Utah Jazz with some strong work on the defensive end but made a bigger statement by hanging with a playoff team like the Warriors and pulling out its first victory in a game decided by four or fewer points. Love is getting plenty of help from Nikola Pekovic, who put up 22 points and 14 rebounds on Friday.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (32-11): Aldridge scored Portland’s final 15 points on Thursday and has scored 25 or more in six straight to help the team through a bit of a rough defensive stretch. The Blazers have allowed at least 105 points in each of their last four games but drew praise from their coach for their effort on that end late in the win over the Nuggets. “I don’t know if we were playing angry,” coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought we were playing hard, we were competing. We were determined. I don’t know if ‘angry’ is the right word but we played defensively with some emotion. I know it’s in us. We’re capable of doing those things.”
1. Aldridge is the only Portland player ever to post seven straight games of at least 20 points and 12 rebounds, surpassing the record of six shared by Bill Walton and Sidney Wicks.
2. Love went for 29 points and 15 rebounds while Aldridge totaled 15 points and 14 boards as Minnesota took a 120-109 home decision from the Blazers on Dec. 18.
3. Portland G Damian Lillard is 0-for-9 from 3-point range over the last two games.
PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 108, Timberwolves 101
Stats and Records
Portland Off vs
109.3 Points For
102.0 Points Against