Trail Blazers Finish Trip With First Game This Season Versus Timberwolves

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

The Portland Trail Blazers will finish off their second five-game road trip of the season Monday night when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Monday night’s game will be the first of four meetings between the two teams this season after the Trail Blazers (16-13) took the season series 3-1 during the 2016-17 campaign. But this iteration of the Timberwolves (17-13) looks much different than the team they beat three times last season with the additions of Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford during the 2017 offseason.

Butler, acquired via trade from Chicago in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, averaged 26.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in two games against the Trail Blazers with the Bulls last season. His status of Monday's game is not yet known as he deals with a sore back.

Portland enters the game on a three-game winning streak after defeating the Charlotte Hornets 93-91 Saturday night at the Spectrum Center. Though both teams struggled, the Trail Blazers were able to escape with the victory thanks to 25 points from CJ McCollum and double-double of 18 points and 11 assists for Damian Lillard.

“Getting three road wins in a row is pretty good," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts after the victory in Charlotte. "The last few minutes were pretty exciting. I was proud that we were able to hold on. It’s the NBA, nothing is easy. You have to grind it out, it would be nice to have a 20-point win, but those are hard to come by."

And a close victory is certainly better than a close loss to a team destined for the lottery, which is how the Timberwolves enter Monday's tilt after losing 108-106 to the Phoenix Suns Saturday night in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves led by as many as 15 points but were outscored 66-56 in the second half to suffer their sixth loss at home this season.

"We shot ourselves in the foot tonight," said Teague, who finished the loss with 17 points and eight rebounds. "We had plenty of times to bury that team, and we didn't."

Monday night's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports NW with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. Brian Wheeler will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Trail Blazers Radio Network.