OK, let’s see…pant, pant. L*kers, Spurs, Suns…pant, pant…Jazz, and Rockets. Anything else to throw at us, NBA? Let me guess, LeBron James has been traded to the Celtics for one night only and they’re coming to
OK…assuming that it’s actually the real Timberwolves coming to town and not some kind of 7-foot tall undead vampire army with a preference for Spanish flesh, this will be the first game of the season that the Blazers could be reasonably expected to win going in. That’s not to say the ‘Wolves are bereft of talent. Much like the Blazers they’re stocked with good, emerging players. But they aren’t a cohesive unit yet. Neither are the Blazers but
A Look at the Timberwolves
Right now there’s one main star for
Riding shotgun to
The other major
As a team the ‘Wolves have a couple of major problems. First they have no perimeter game to speak of. If you keep a hand in Miller’s face you have corralled their outside attack. Second, their defense is choppier than their offense. Third, despite having a couple good rebounders they are weak overall as a team. That’s a potent combination of flaws to overcome.
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 one game where
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
5. Speaking of passes: two decent ones in any possession and you’ll have whatever shot you like.
Storylines to Watch
The Blazers have just played five games against major teams. They’re coming off a fantastic, emotional win against the Rockets. This is the first team on the schedule they should beat. Reality check: the Blazers are neither good nor experienced enough to take anyone for granted yet. It’ll be much harder to win this game after coming out flat and giving the Timberwolves life than it will be if the Blazers continue Thursday’s onslaught.
2. Is There a Point Guard in the House?
Steve Blake’s game has been a little wonky. Sergio is going through a soap opera. Jerryd Bayless hasn’t seen the light of day yet. Randy Foye is struggling big time and Sebastian Telfair is always good for a crazy old time. It’s like a circus. There’s plenty of potential for one of these guys to take advantage of all the others. I just hope it isn’t Telfair.
It probably won’t be a direct matchup, but Lamarcus will do a ton of psychological damage if he’s able to keep pace with Al Jefferson tonight. He’s
4. Love Comes Home
How will Kevin Love look in his first game back?
It’s early yet, but these are the games you need to win if you want to make your spring run seem easier. And I don't care what the records say, I'm bringing my garlic, crucifix, and anti-robot spray just in case.
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