NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (35-15) at Minnesota Timberwolves (24-26), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers learned a valuable lesson in their most recent loss and will try to have a short memory Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the finale of a four-game road trip.
The Trail Blazers blew a fourth-quarter lead in Friday night's showdown with the NBA-best and Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers. The Blazers had an 89-81 lead before the Pacers rallied to take it in overtime, 118-113.
Indiana scored 15 of the 25 points in the extra session and received a total of 67 points from George Hill (37) and David West (30).
Portland was led by Damian Lillard, who recorded 38 points and handed out 11 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 22 points, Wesley Matthews scored 19 and Robin Lopez chipped in 17 with 14 rebounds for Portland, which is 1-2 on the road trip and lost for the sixth time in 10 tries.
"It's a game I think we were in a position to win, obviously," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "We didn't come up with some rebounds when we needed them and give Indiana credit. They made tough shots when they needed them."
The Blazers are 16-10 away from the Rose City and still lead the NBA with 107.8 points per game. However, they are allowing 103.4 ppg.
Portland has a huge Western showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday and will try not to look past the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is back home for four straight games versus Portland, Houston, Denver and Indiana, and has a 14-9 record at Target Center this season.
The Timberwolves have lost two in a row and four of their last five games, including Friday's 98-91 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans. Kevin Love scored 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, but suffered a minor leg injury. Love missed Wednesday's loss at Oklahoma City with a neck issue.
Love has recorded a double-double in each of his last five games and is posting an average of 25.8 points and 14.1 rebounds over the past 12.
Corey Brewer scored 16 points and Kevin Martin had 15 in the loss for the Wolves, who were outscored 37-20 in the decisive fourth quarter and failed to even their record (24-26).
"It was tough, they played very well," Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio said. "They scored 30 plus points in the fourth quarter and when you give up that many points on the road it makes it very hard to win. At the end we tried to force some shots but they just wouldn't go."
The T'Wolves are one of the top scoring teams in the league with 105.5 ppg, but they're also giving up 101.6 ppg.
Minnesota and Portland have split a pair of matchups this season, but the Blazers have won six of seven and 22 of the past 25 meetings between the Northwest foes. Portland is 10-2 in the last 12 trips to the Twin Cities.
02/08 16:04:16 ET