Timberwolves out-hustle sloppy Blazers 90-82

 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 90-82 Wednesday evening in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Other than the rookie’s performance, the game was pretty forgettable for both teams.

Portland had 20 turnovers that led to 20 Minnesota points. The Wolves had 18 turnovers of their own that led to 19 Blazers points. The Wolves also had 20 offensive rebounds. Some of it was the luck of the bounce but the Wolves were consistently beating the Blazers to the spot where rebounds would be. The Blazers were either out of position with their rotations or the Wolves made well-timed runs at the offensive glass or both.

Portland also had a night they want to forget from the field. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 23 points but took 24 shots to get there. His fellow star LaMarcus Aldridge was 3-for-14 and Nicolas Batum was 1-of-6. Wesley Matthews hit four 3’s.

But nobody on the Blazers grabbed double-digit rebounds which is pretty astonishing when you consider the size advantage the Blazers had going into the game. Gorgui Dieng is the only center on the roster.

This bungled 3rd quarter fast break that led to a Minnesota’s only 3-pointer quite summed up the night for the Blazers.


Terry Stotts tried to match the Wolves’ style of play by bringing in Thomas Robinson. Robinson has been used in the past in similar situations against athletic teams without too much height. But after his 3 minute run in the first half, the Blazers didn’t bring him back into the game. Late in the game, Stotts went small with Dorell Wright, Matthews, Lillard, Batum and Lopez. It helped Portland gain some ground but the Wolves still held the advantages they’d held all game.

Outside of the hustle stats, Andrew Wiggins was the best wing player on the floor tonight. He was guarded by multiple Blazers and he easily rose up for midrange jumpers. He scored 9 points in the fourth quarter.

He was 6/9 from midrange according to NBA.com. The Blazers were vulnerable coming into this game with a marquee match-up against Chicago on the horizon. While they made it interesting towards the end, the Blazers could never make the final push to get them over the hump.


  • Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dorell Wright, Wesley Matthews and Will Barton all wore the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts prior to tonight’s game.
  • When you go 10-for-35 from the 3-point line it’s very hard to win games. The Wolves doubled Aldridge frequently from the beginning of the game. Aldridge got the ball out of double teams and the Blazers moved the ball nicely. They just couldn’t make enough of those open looks to cash in. Matthews made some late and so did Aldridge, but their jump shooting lost them this game. According to NBA.com, they were 2-for-14 from midrange and 5-for-14 in the paint. Bad shooting inside the arc and outside of it is usually a wrap for anyone.
  • There’s likely nothing to make of Stotts’ rotation decisions tonight. He’s been on message that nobody outside of Blake and Kaman have guaranteed spots on the bench. Allen Crabbe played just 10 minutes but had 6 points as well as being one of the many Blazers who tried to guard Wiggins. Dorell Wright came into the game when the Blazers tried a comeback. Joel Freeland played under five minutes. The Blazers just didn’t have it tonight and it looks like Stotts was just trying to find something to spark Portland.
  • Lillard talked about needing to adjust to his finger splints to The Oregonian‘s Joe Freeman. And you have to wonder whether it’s causing some problems with his normally marksman like shooting. He was 2-for-12 from deep tonight and 5-for-25 in the games since he wore the splints in Sunday’s win against New York.
Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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