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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview

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The Blazers look to get another win in game two of a back-to-back in Minneapolis.

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (22-15) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-30)

The Portland Trail Blazers face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second game of a back-to-back at the Target Center in Minneapolis after winning the first matchup 125-121. Despite the excellent performance of Karl-Anthony Towns, the Blazers managed to string together a response with the combined efforts of Damian Lillard, Enes Kanter, and Carmelo Anthony to outlast the Timberwolves in the second half.

Sunday, March 14 - 5:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), CJ McCollum (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Harry Giles (out) Timberwolves injuries: Jarrett Culver (doubtful), Jordan McLaughlin (out), D’Angelo Russell (out), Jaden McDaniels (out) SBN Affiliate: Canis Hoopus

What To Watch For

  • Enes Kanter. The Blazers big man hung in there against Karl-Anthony Towns, notching 20 points and 11 rebounds, but he could be even more of a force to reckon with in the second game against the Timberwolves if he remembers to play defense. Watch for Kanter to continue to clean up on the offensive glass.
  • Old Man Melo. Who could have predicted that performance? Dubbed a “savvy vet” by teammate Derrick Jones Jr., Carmelo Anthony’s contributions clearly made a difference in the win over Minnesota, especially with that late pass to DJJ for the slam. It was a masterful move by Anthony, who showed the array of his skills in the game while contributing 24 points off the bench.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns. The Blazers cannot let KAT get going. Towns scored 15 of 34 points just in the third quarter against the Blazers, rallying his team. Portland needs to figure out how to play interior defense quickly if they hope to stop any potential recovery by the Timberwolves, and they need to figure out how to prevent Towns from getting downhill.

What Others Are Saying

John Meyer of Canis Hoopus reports that the Timberwolves are looking to clean up their game tonight.

“I was pretty pleased with the defense for the most part, we were draped on them and they made tough shots,” said Finch, who has stressed defending without fouling early in his tenure. That didn’t happen, though neither team could avoid fouls on a night dominated by whistles and reviews. “As players, we don’t control what the refs call. I would say we need to wall up more, less reaching. They are calling that a lot on us. Less jumping to the side.”

Over at the Minneapolis Star-Tribute, Chris Hine features KAT’s praise for the Minnesota bench.

“Recently the bench has come through big time,” Towns said. “Everyone from Naz Reid, JO [Josh Okogie] to Jaylen and Jaden [McDaniels], everyone in between, they’ve done a great job of holding the starters accountable and picking up the slack whenever we’re not doing our job to the fullest of our abilities.”