The Portland Trail Blazers will look to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Portland is trying to secure home court advantage in the first round, but they are a in a battle with a few other teams. The Timberwolves will miss the playoffs this season, but you should expect them to put up a good fight at home in this game.
Portland saw their six game winning streak snapped in their last game, but the Trail Blazers have been playing great of late. The Trail Blazers bring a 48-28 record into this game, and trail the Denver Nuggets by just 3.5 games in the Northwest Division. Minnesota sits in last place in the Northwest Division with a record of 34-42. The Timberwolves have gone just 2-5 in their last seven game. Portland is a -3.5 point favourite over Minnesota in this game.
Blazers Winning With Guard Play
The Portland Trail Blazers have a pair of superstars in their backcourt, and they have have been carrying the team. Point guard Damian Lillard has been the biggest star in Portland, pouring in 26.2 points and 6.8 assists per game this season. CJ McCollum has chipped in with 21.3 points per game this season, and is a terrific shooter from the three-point line. If the Blazers are going to win this game, it will behind the play of Lillard and McCollum.
The Trail Blazers suffered a tough blow last week when center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with a gruesome leg injury. Nurkic was having a monster season for the Trail Blazers, scoring 15.6 points and grabbing 10.4 rebounds per game. Portland is averaging more than 114 points per game, but they are missing a weapon without Nurkic.
Timberwolves Planning For Future
Minnesota sealed their fate earlier this season when they traded Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Timberwolves are trying to position themselves to be a contender in the future, but things haven’t gone well this season. Minnesota is averaging 112.6 points per night, but they are allowing 113.8 on the other end of the floor. The Timberwolves will need to find a way to get stops against a great Portland team.
Center Karl-Anthony Towns has been a monster this season for the Timberwolves, and will be the building block going forward. Towns is averaging 24.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game for the Timberwolves, and was named to the All-Star team this season. The Timberwolves will need to find shooters to surround him with, but Minnesota is making just 35 percent of their shots from deep this season.
Portland Gets Road Win in Minnesota
Minnesota has been playing well at home this season, but they don’t have anything left to play for. The Timberwolves just don’t get enough stops on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be a problem against the Trail Blazers. Portland needs this win for playoff seeding purposes, and they will get the job done on Monday night. Bet the Portland Trail Blazers -3.5 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.