Scouting Report: Wolves (12-13) vs. Blazers (22-4) | Dec. 18, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves (12-13) vs. Blazers (22-4) | Dec. 18, 2013


Timberwolves vs. Trail Blazers | 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

The Blazers, led by the combination of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, have taken the Western Conference by storm so far during the 2013-14 season. At 22-4, Portland has the best record in the league and the Blazers are riding high right now, as Lillard has hit two-straight game winners.

New coach Terry Stotts has this offense rolling, and what might be surprising that his team is averaging more points on the road (109.5 points per game) compared to home (106.9).

The Wolves are hoping to inch back to .500 and while they are doing it against a tough Portland squad, the positive is that the Blazers will be playing the second of a back-to-back game on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

Last Meeting

The two teams last faced off on March 2 last season in Portland and the Blazers came away with a 109-94 win.

The Blazers were led by Lillard, who finished with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists. J.J. Hickson (now with Nuggets) had a big night among post players, scoring 18 points while collecting a game-high 16 rebounds. Aldridge added 17 points, while fellow starter Nicolas Batum finished with 12. Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver had 12 and 10 points off the bench, respectively.

The Wolves were without Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic and it showed in the rebound column as Minnesota was outrebounded 55-47.

Minnesota was led by Derrick Williams (now with Kings), who scored 23 points while filling in for Love. Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks) scored 18 points. His backcourt partner, Ricky Rubio, nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. He also had a game-high three steals. Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea had 16 and 14 points off the bench, respectively.

The Wolves were 0-4 against the Blazers last season.

Wolves Minute

Dec. 18, 2013

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This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off of a 101-97 loss to the Boston Celtics on the road. It was the second game of a back-to-back, as the Wolves defeated the Grizzlies the night before. The Wolves shot just 37.8 percent from the field and were without shooting guard Kevin Martin, who sat out due to knee pain.

Love led Minnesota with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but shot just 9-of-26 from the field and 2-of-11 from the 3-point line. Pekovic scored 13 points and added seven rebounds, but also struggled from the field, shooting just 6-of-15. Minnesota’s bench had a solid night, combining for 45 points. Dante Cunningham led the way with 12 points and six rebounds. Both Barea and Alexey Shved scored 10 points. Barea also had a season and game-high 11 assists. It was his first double-double of the season.

Previous to that, the Wolves split two games on the road against San Antonio and Memphis. On Friday, Minnesota dropped a nail-biter against San Antonio before bouncing back on Sunday against the Grizzlies.

Portland is coming off of a buzzer-beater finish against Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night on the road. The 119-116 win had a lot to do with Lillard, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to give the Blazers the best record in the entire league.

Lillard finished the night with 36 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Aldridge had a very nice game as well, scoring 26 points while hauling in 15 rebounds. Matthews finished with 19 points, while Batum added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Before that, the Blazers had won four straight games against the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. In fact, the Blazers have lost just one game in their last 10.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

These will be the two best players on the court Wednesday night and all eyes should be on this matchup. Love and Aldridge are considered two of the NBA’s best power forwards (with no disrespect to Tim Duncan and Blake Griffin) and for good reason.

This season, Love is averaging 25 points, 13.6 rebounds and four assists per game. Those 13.6 rebounds per game lead the NBA and his four assists are a career-high.

Aldridge is averaging 23.6 points and 11 rebounds per game.

We could go into more detail on this matchup, but we covered it pretty in-depth yesterday. Mark Remme and I break down the two players and how they are having such an impressive 2013 campaign. You can read that here.

Injury Report

 The Wolves will be without wing Chase Budinger, who is out while recovering from preseason left knee surgery. Center Ronny Turiaf is out indefinitely with a radial head fracture in his right elbow. Forward Dante Cunningham (ankle) is also out indefinitely. After missing Monday’s game with a knee injury, Kevin Martin is questionable.

Rookie guard C.J. McCollum (foot) is out indefinitely.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Blazers
PG Ricky Rubio Damian Lillard
SG Corey Brewer Wes Matthews
SF Robbie Hummel Nicolas Batum
PF Kevin Love LaMarcus Aldridge
C Nikola Pekovic Robin Lopez


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.