Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Portland Looks To Leave Home On High Note Against Minnesota

  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 4.0

    Tonight the Trail Blazers (5-6) face the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-6) at the Rose Garden. Tip off is at 7PM and the game will be broadcast on KGW. It can also be heard on the radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

    •After having won three straight games, the Trail Blazers had their worst performance of the year against Phoenix on Wednesday. The Suns shot 60% from the field and Portland was allowing their big men to get many open looks in the paint. That is something the Trail Blazers must improve on in this game. Center Nikola Pekovic is the Timerwolves' leading scorer and his bruising style is something the Trail Blazers truly can't match from a defensive stand point. The 300 pound Pekovic is an absolute load in the post. Oh and All-Star power forward Kevin Love is back from injury. Love scored 34 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his return to the court against the Denver Nuggets. It was his first game back after breaking his hand before the start of the season.

    • The battle between Love and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge is this game's marquee match-up. The two All-Star forwards are two very versatile scorers. Last season Aldridge averaged 20 points against the Timberwolves and Love. Love averaged 32 points per game against the Trail Blazers last year.
    • Damian Lillard continued his excellent play. The Trail Blazers had a rough night defensively and offensively as well as they were shooting under 40%. Lillard was what kept them in the game offensively in the second and third quarters although it was ultimately not enough. Lillard finished the game with 24 points on seven of 13 shooting. Lillard leads all rookies in scoring, assists, three-pointer made and minutes.

    • One of the reasons Minnesota has been able to sustain the many injuries they've had to players like Love and Rubio has been their defense, which is currently ranked 7th in the league in defensive efficiency according to Basketball-Reference. Another reason has been the play of Andrei Kirilenko, who has made his return to the NBA after taking a season off to play in Europe. Kirilenko has been a stat-stuffer, averaging 13.4 points, two blocks, 1.6 steals, three assists and eight rebounds per game. He's also been shooting a blistering 57 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three-point range. The match-up between he and Nicolas Batum on the wing will be a very interesting one to watch.

    • This will be the last time we see the Trail Blazers on their home floor for a while. After tonight's game they will fly east to start a seven-game road trip in Brooklyn on Sunday. Their next home game will not be until December 8th when they face the Sacramento Kings. On the road trip they will face the Nets, Pistons, Wizards, Celtics, Cavaliers, Bobcats and Pacers.

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