Scouting Report: Wolves (21-21) at Blazers (32-11) | Jan. 25, 2014

Scouting Report: Wolves (20-21) at Blazers (32-11) | Jan. 25, 2014

Timberwolves at Blazers | 9:00 PM — Moda Center

Where to Watch: NBATV

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

Things don’t’ get any easier for the Wolves on Saturday night, the second night of a back-to-back, as they battle the Western Conference’s third-placed team.

Side-note: We don’t have time for this in today’s Scouting Report, but who saw this coming from the Blazers? We might have to dedicate a column to this.

It’s the third game of a four-game road trip that will conclude on Monday when the Wolves face off against the Chicago Bulls.

After a thrilling win over the Golden State Warriors last night, Saturday’s game is still very important as the Wolves try to hover around that .500 mark, hoping to at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later) make a run at the No. 8 seed in the West.

The main focus in Saturday night’s game will be Kevin Love vs. LaMarcus Aldridge. Both power forwards are having fantastic seasons. Love was named an All-Star starter on Thursday night. Aldridge has numbers that will almost certainly guarantee him a spot as a reserve, but both players will be compared on this night as fans make a case for who the better power forward is. We’ll get more into this later.

Expect some points in this one, folks.

Last Meeting

The two teams have played just once this season and that came on Dec. 18 at the Target Center.

The Blazers came into the game with a record of 22-4, good for first in the Western Conference. The Wolves showed their potential and took down the Blazers 120-109. Minnesota led Portland 69-43 at half.

Love barely missed out on his first career triple-double, scoring 29 points to go with a game-high 15 rebounds and nine rebounds. Nikola Pekovic added 30 points, while Kevin Martin put up 22. J.J. Barea led the second unit with 10 points.

The Wolves outrebounded the Blazers 53-49.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 36 points off of seven 3-pointers – some coming from Mars. Nicolas Batum scored 20 points and Wesley Matthews put up 16. In his first matchup against Love this season, Aldridge struggled, scoring 15 points while shooting 7-of-22 from the field. He did manage to haul in 14 rebounds, though.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off of a thrilling 121-120 win over the Warriors on Friday night. Love led the way with 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Martin also put up 26 points, including the go-ahead bucket. Pekovic added 22 points and 14 rebounds. Ricky Rubio had a nice game, scoring nine points to go with 12 assists and four steals.

Minnesota is 3-2 in its last five games.

The Blazers are coming off of a 110-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night in Portland.

Hours after finding out he wasn’t voted as an All-Star starter, Aldridge did his best to prove he was, putting up 44 points to go with 13 rebounds and five assists. He was 15-of-29 from the field. Matthews scored 24 points. Robin Lopez added 12, while Lillard finished with 11.

The Blazers are 3-2 in their last five games.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

There’s a lot of debate in the league on who the NBA’s best power forward is. Most arguments come down to these two players. While they play the same position, Love and Aldridge are pretty different players.

Love plays more on the perimeter, and he’s still dominating on the boards. Aldridge has a nice 15-18 foot jumper, but mostly plays inside offensively.

The Minnesota All-Star starter is averaging 25 points, 13 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season.

Aldridge is averaging career-highs of 24.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Oddly, his shooting percentage is at 47.7, the lowest mark of his career.

With Love outperforming Aldridge in Minnesota, fans can bet that Aldridge will want to get some revenge on his homecourt. Especially after Love was named to the All-Star game over Aldridge.

Injury Report

Both teams appear to be at full strength.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Blazers
PG Ricky Rubio Damian Lillard
SG Kevin Martin Wesley Matthews
SF Corey Brewer 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.