Tonight's game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves was not pretty. The teams combined to shoot 10-43 from beyond the arc, and it often felt like players from both sides were slogging through mud.
Fortunately for the Blazers, Meyers Leonard and Al-Farouq Aminu overcame the collective malaise and put together back to back game clinching plays of the night:
Before these key moments, the Timberwolves hung with the Blazers through the first three quarters and held a 65-61 lead going into the final frame. The Blazers came out strong and closed the gap to start the quarter. Aminu's triple and Leonard's dunked signified a major momentum shift in the game and foreshadowed the Blazers' victory. Minnesota would pull within two in the final seconds, but Portland ultimately prevailed 96-93.
Notably, both plays were made possible because of Leonard's excellent reads of the defense. On the first play he recognized that Andre Miller's head was turned and a lane was open along the baseline. He made the cut, which forced the T-Wolves defense to scramble, and resulted in a triple for Aminu.
Jim Petersen, color commentator for the T-Wolves, explains the next play:
Leonard finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds.