Wolves @ Blazers Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves @ Blazers 9 PM - Rose Garden
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 KFAN AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
* Michael Beasley (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE

* Brandon Roy (knee) - OUT

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
10 days ago, Portland waltzed into the Target Center and cruised to a 108-98 victory behind a career-night from Wes Matthews. The Blazers suffered three straight games following the Wolves win, falling to Miami, New York, and Phoenix. On Saturday night, the Rip City squad received a bit of home cooking by jumping back over to the win column while defeating New Jersey. The victory pushed Portland above the .500 mark (21-20) at the exact midpoint of the season. If the playoffs began today, the Blazers would hold the eighth seed, a pretty admirable position considering the substantial injuries to All-Star guard Brandon Roy and center Greg Oden. The team will look to gain steam in the standings with five of its next six games at the Rose Garden, staring with tonight’s third matchup against Minnesota.

Last Time Out
Bouncing back from a poor 18-point first quarter, Portland outplayed the Nets on Saturday night and registered a 96-89 victory.

The Wolves played inspired basketball for three out of the four quarters against Orlando on Saturday. However, spectacular 3-point shooting and a third period marred by turnovers resulted in a 108-99 defeat for Minnesota.

The Numbers Game
The Wolves are 13-6 all-time in games played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. They are even more impressive in the last 15 appearances with a 13-2 record.

Match-up to Watch
Corey Brewer vs. Wes Matthews
Wolves’ fans vividly remember Matthews torching Minnesota in the first half of the previous matchup as he posted 29 points. Matthews finished with a career-high 36 points but was limited to just seven after head coach Kurt Rambis decided to place Corey Brewer with the starters to begin the second half. Brewer has found a spot in the starting lineup since the January 7 game against Portland and the shooting guard is breathing defensive life into the first unit. He also may have regained offensive confidence after posting a season-high 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting to go along with five steals on Saturday night. While Brewer admits to playing his best game from an offensive standpoint, the Wolves will rely on his defensive prowess to limit the second-year standout on the opposite side of the floor. Brewer was a treat to watch in the last meeting, constantly crowding Matthews on every possession and effectively face guarding him to force Portland to search for other scoring options.

What to Look For
Portland enjoys the home court advantage, which is clearly evident in its 13-5 home record as just opposed to just 8-15 on the road. Expect the Blazers to work LaMarcus Aldridge on the blocks and utilize their array of shooters like Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Batum, and Patrick Mills to launch from the perimeter. Aldridge is a major concern for the Wolves frontline due to his ability to hit the midrange jumper or put his back to the basket for post-up scoring opportunities. Prior to Saturday’s win over New Jersey, Aldridge posted his sixth straight game with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, a franchise record. Darko Milicic will have to stay out of foul trouble and help control Aldridge’s activity on the blocks. Offensively, the Wolves bench will be counted on to increase their productivity from the game against Orlando where they only accounted for 29 points.
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