Blazers Finish Road Trip, Lose to Wolves

game 38 blazers lose to wolves
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The Minnesota front court combined for 47 points for the win as the Portland Trail Blazers lose to Wolves and finish their road trip, 116-93. The Timberwolves sit themselves atop the west at 27-11 while the Trail Blazers continue their plunge into the lottery at 10-28.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert punished the Blazers in the paint as the Timberwolves more or less cruised to victory on the back on a 36-15 first quarter. Portland’s starting unit continued to struggle on offense as Anfernee Simons finished 0-10 from the floor and Scoot Henderson committed six turnovers.

Portland continues to miss starting center Deandre Ayton from knee tendinitis, while sophomore guard Shaedon Sharpe nurses a strained thigh. Blazer center Ibou Badji left the game late in the third quarter with a hip contusion.

The Blazers terminated their miserable road trip with a single win among six insufferable losses.

Stars in the North

Rudy Gobert dominated the Portland frontcourt with a commanding 24 points and 17 rebounds on 9-11 from the floor. He notched his 23rd double-double of the season with 28.1 seconds to go in the first half.

His fellow twin tower, Karl-Anthony Towns, backed up this performance with a 24-point, 8-rebound performance of his own. Backup bigman Naz Reid, iced this front court domination with 14 points of his own. The fan favorite threw in circus shots and made life miserable on switches.

For the Blazers, the night was marked by the return of bench stalwart Jabari Walker. Walker notched a double-double of his own with 17 points and 13 rebounds. It was his second on the season. The second-year forward looked remarkable in his first game back from left knee tendinitis.

Beware the Wolfpack

The Blazers came into Minneapolis on the second game of a back-to-back. Smelling blood after the Blazer’s historic lost the previous night, the Timberwolves lost no time pouncing on their foes, 11-0, in the opening three minutes. They would lead 22-9 midway and finish the quarter up 36-15.

For the second night in a row, the Blazers could not buy themselves a bucket, shooting 25% from the field to Wolves’ scorching 65%. A metaphor for what it felt like came after a Blazers miss in the halfcourt.

Reid caught the ball up the floor in transition and proceeded to break down Jerami Grant, falling over with the ball on his hip, he sent up a prayer. And the basketball gods answered as it fell from the top of the backboard straight through the hoop. The net didn’t so much as move.

Portland would find some rhythm in the second quarter as Walker and Badji put together some remarkable defense and rebounding to close the gap, 48-39. However, the Wolves would finish on a 15-4 run to keep the lead, 63-42.

For Blazers fans, this felt like a luxury. But Portland would receive no comforts in the third quarter as the Minnesota starters continued their onslaught. They frustrated any attempt from Simons by repeatedly sagging off the perimeter to pack the lane.

By the fourth quarter, garbage time was declared and the benches were cleared. In the final frame, Walker would notch his double-double and Blazers rookies Toumani Camara and Rayan Rupert showed flashes before the game ambled to its terminal end, 116-93.

Some Stats in the Woods

The Blazers ended the night on an improved 39% shooting, making 30-70. The Wolves blew the house down with 55% and 44-80. Portland went 10-28 for 35.7% beyond the arc, matching Minnesota’s 11-31 (35.5%). However, the Wolves savaged the Blazers in the paint, 60-36

Despite 34 attempts at the line, Portland only made 23. Minnesota did not fare much better, finishing 17-24. The Wolves outrebounded their guests 44-38 and doubled their assists, 35-18. They also pocketed 14 steals en route to 20 turnovers.

The Blazers for their part, nabbed 8 steals and forced 15 turnovers, most of them coming late. They outscored the Wolves 28-15 off turnovers and matched them at five blocks and edged them in fast break points, 12-11.

Where to Next?

The Trail Blazers will head home to host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The Timberwolves will continue on their merry way against the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Monday.

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