The Portland Trail Blazers, who lost their first 2020-21 NBA match after the All-Star break, will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on Saturday.
The Portland Trail Blazers have had an indifferent campaign but have shown improvement at both ends of the court in recent outings. In their last game, they lost to the Phoenix Suns by six points, despite a 30-point performance by Damien Lillard.
The Trail Blazers have missed a number of key players to injury this season but go up against a Minnesota Timberwolves side that have also had their injury woes.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the worst records in the league this season, currently occupying 15th place in the Western Conference after a dismal 8-29 start to their campaign.
Malik Beasley is serving a 12-game suspension, while other player injuries have meant an overload of responsibility on Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves, who saw some big performances in their last match, will look to get their second consecutive win after the All-Star break.
Fixture – Portland Trail Blazers vs Minnesota Timberwolves | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time – Saturday, March 13th; 8:00 PM ET (Sunday; 3:00 AM IST).
Venue – Target Center, Minneapolis, MN.
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers were up for a difficult night after playing three straight games before the All-Star break. However, they have managed their plethora of injuries decently to find themselves fifth in the Western Conference.
Damien Lillard has been consistently prolific, with the likes of Enes Kanter and Gary Trent Jr. also chipping in with decent performances. Enes Kanter, in particular, has been producing double-doubles for fun, while Carmelo Anthony has chipped in with key points off the bench.
The Portland Trail Blazers will be able to count on the likes of Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum, despite their injury woes. 21-year old shooting guard Anfernee Simmons has also impressed, winning the All-Star slam dunk competition recently.
Key Player – Damien Lillard
Damien Lillard, who had a highly impressive All-Star weekend, has single-handedly led his team to a number of victories this season. He is producing a double-double almost every game, averaging close to 30 points and eight assists per game.
His presence has been the biggest reason for the Portland Trail Blazers’ recent run of good form.
Lillard has stepped up in the absence of the team’s other stars and has delivered the goods on a weekly basis for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G Gary Trent Jr., F Derrick Jones Jr., F Robert Covington, C Enes Kanter.
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves produced a rare win in their first outing after the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell continues to be sidelined and is not expected to return for another month. Moreover, Malik Beasley’s suspension has meant that KAT has had to produce the goods in almost every game.
The Timberwolves have relied on the scoring of Naz Reid from the bench too.
In their last game, the likes of Jaylen Nowell and Jadon McDaniels produced massive performances, coming up with 28 and 20 points, respectively, off the bench. That propelled the Minnesota Timberwolves to a comfortable victory, with coach Chris Finch living up to his promise of rotating players to get the best out of his talented roster.
Key Player – Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl Anthony-Towns has not put a foot wrong all season, averaging more than a double-double, with 10.8 rebounds and 21.6 points per game.
He has missed a number of games, though, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled this campaign, particularly in his absence.
However, KAT has been crowded out of games for long periods of times, and a number of players need to step up in the second half of the season if the Minnesota Timberwolves are to make a charge for the playoffs. Despite the scoring form of Anthony Edwards in recent games, a change in rotation-policy could result in better results.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
G Ricky Rubio, G Anthony Edwards, F Jake Layman, F Jarred Vanderbilt, C Karl-Anthony Towns.
Trail Blazers vs Timberwolves Match Prediction
The Minnesota Timberwolves have largely struggled to get going offensively this season.
Their victory over the Pelicans should have given them a huge boost in confidence. But the Portland Trail Blazers are the favorites for this game, as they have had a massive improvement in recent weeks.
Moreover, Damien Lillard is in form, while Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simmons have produced decent performances off the bench.
Where to watch the Portland Trail Blazers vs Minnesota Timberwolves game?
The live coverage of the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves game will be on the Fox Sports North and the NBC North West networks. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.