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Blazers Topple Tanking Timberwolves

Thursday, April 09, 2015

 

BLAZERS 116, TIMBERWOLVES 91

It's that time of year: when NBA teams who aren't playoff-bound have more incentive to lose in order to increase their draft position.

As such, the Timberwolves (who entered with a record of 16-62) sat Ricky Rubio, Kevin Garnett and Gorgui Dieng, Wednesday. Which isn't to say that had Minnesota been at full-strength that they would've had much chance in Portland--with or without the resting/injured players, the Blazers are, by far, the more talented team.

Portland jumped out to a 12-3 lead, Wednesday, and never looked back. They were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who came out sharp after staying home from Monday's trip to Brooklyn. Aldridge had 18 points by halftime.

Just before intermission the Blazers went on a 12-2 run, pushing the lead to 19. The Wolves would never again get within single-digits.

Portland won easily, 116-91.

The Blazers shot 49% from the field, a number the could've been higher had more of their uncontested three-point attempts rimmed in. They held the Timberwolves to just 38%. 

In such a friction-less win, the Blazers' starters were afforded plenty of rest. 

Being energized could matter, as Portland travel to take on the league-leading Golden State Warriors on Thursday, the second game of a back-to-back.

But the Warriors too are without much motivation to win. Golden State have already locked up the top seed throughout the playoffs--then again, they've only lost two games at home all season.

Portland, for that matter, may not have much left to do in determine their own seeding. Lest they win out and get some help, Portland are likely locked into the four seed, though without home court advantage. Who the Blazers face, however, remains much up in the air--they just won't have much choice in the matter.

---

A

LaMarcus Aldridge
Taking Monday off seemed to serve Aldridge well. But so too did the competition. The no-name players on Minnesota's roster wouldn't have had a chance either way. Aldridge scored 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field while sucking up 13 rebounds in just 29 minutes.

B-

Nicolas Batum
Batum too benefitted from the break. He made 3-of-4 from behind the arc--always a good sign. He had 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in 29 minutes. The only blemish: four turnovers.

B+

Robin Lopez
Lopez could hardly miss. He made 7-of-8, good for 18 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. So efficient.

D

Arron Afflalo
Afflalo was the only Blazer starter who failed to score in double-figures, Wednesday. He managed just one field goal and finished with just four points and three rebounds.

C-

Damian Lillard
Unlike Batum and Aldridge, Lillard traveled to Brooklyn and back, and while he was there he fought his butt off. So perhaps, Wednesday, he showed a little worse for wear. Still, he managed 17 points, but it took him 13 shots to get there.
 

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