We just played Minnesota and their Six Power Forwards of DOOOOOM last Saturday so there's no need for a full preview again. Suffice it to say Al Jefferson is their key, they have problems giving up offensive rebounds, shooting from deep (except for Mike Miller, of course), and, well, letting their opponents average 105 per game.
Keys to the Game:
1. If you either slow down Al Jefferson's scoring or match him point for point you should be able to beat the ‘Wolves.
2. This is a game where Portland should dominate on the boards.
3. Deny the middle and make the Timberwolves score from the perimeter sidelines.
4. Offensively the Blazers need to go hard into the heart of the Minnesota defense. Post-up play is one way to do that but it allows the defense to get set. Even better: get past your initial defender and take the ball down deep. You're guaranteed to have an easy scoring attempt or a pass to someone else for an easy scoring attempt.
5. Speaking of passes: two decent ones in any possession and you'll have whatever shot you like.
The guys over at CanisHoopus were quibbling with Point #3 the last time I made it, but it's a pretty safe bet that having McCants and Foye and company hoisting over the top is a lot better bet than letting Jefferson and Love work inside. Last game we held them to a comparatively low 41.7% from the field and let them shoot a comparatively high 41.% from distance and won the game. Do it again. Long shots = long rebounds = running = rampant score escalation = Minnesota is done.
Don't forget the Jersey Contest form for this game is right here.