The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves are scheduled to meet at the Target Center on Saturday night. On paper this looks like an easy win for the Trail Blazers, but the Timberwolves could be carrying plenty of confidence into Saturday night following one of their best performances of the season. The Timberwolves walked into New Orleans as 8.5-point underdogs and upset the Pelicans, 135-105. What a perfect that was for the Timberwolves’ offense, as they pounded the Pelicans for 135 points.
It was the bench mob for the Timberwolves that came through big. Jaylen Nowell led the team with 28 points, while Jaden McDaniels chipped in with 20 points off the bench. Anthony Edwards netted 27 points and led the Timberwolves in minutes with 37. Karl-Anthony Towns was able to play a secondary role in that game, and the result was an explosive win for the Timberwolves. Despite the win, the Timberwolves are still staring at a record of 8-29. The victory ended a long nine-game losing streak for the Timberwolves.
Before the All-Star break, the Timberwolves suffered a 135-102 loss against the Charlotte Hornets. With their first win since February 14 out of the way, the Timberwolves can focus on trying to find some consistency in their game. Small wins here and there is what they have to aim for at this point. You have to imagine that Ricky Rubio is on the trade block as we inch towards the deadline. He could be valuable for a contender, but I’m not so sure his presence on the Timberwolves means that much on a 8-29 team.
The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, are fine if they could only stay healthy. They’re doing their best, and a pretty good job of it without Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum. However, it’s clear they need Nurkic and McCollum to have a chance against the top teams in the West. The Blazers are coming off a 127-121 loss against the Suns to open up the second-half. That stopped a three-game winning streak, which was preceded by a four-game losing streak. Head below for our free Trail Blazers vs. Timberwolves pick on March 13, 2021.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Betting Odds:
Trail Blazers vs. Timberwolves Prediction:
It’s absolutely imperative that the Timberwolves get more out of Karl-Anthony Towns on defense. I’ve said this before, and have to stress it again when I discuss the Timberwolves. Towns is a talented player, but he can be a liability on defense. For a guy that his size, he has to play more of a role at preventing teams from cutting towards the rim and scoring. He’s not intimidating anyone. It has resulted in the Timberwolves allowing 116.7 points per game going into tonight. His defensive woes go back to last year, so this isn’t anything new.
They’re 28th in the NBA defensively. I like what they did against a good Pelicans’ offense, but the effort isn’t present on a consistent basis. In their previous five outings, the Timberwolves have gotten walloped for 123.8 points against per game. The Trail Blazers should be able to find room against the Timberwolves in this one. In their last meeting on January 7, the Trail Blazers sliced through the Timberwolves’ defense easily. They put up 135 points in a 135-117 win behind a big 39-point outing from Damian Lillard.
Even with Nurkic and McCollum, offense hasn’t been a problem for the Trail Blazers. They’re in the top-10 with 114.7 points overall per game, which is the same they’re scoring on the road at 114.7 points a game. The OVER has gone 5-1 in the Timberwolves’ last six games for a good reason. That’s easy to do when the defense has conceded at least 118 points in five of their past six outings. Take away the rare solid defensive performance against the Pelicans, and they’ve allowed 130.6 points per game since February 23. I have confidence in the OVER coming through at the Target Center in Minnesota tonight.