Blazers demolish KAT-less Wolves, 135-117

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Portland Trail Blazers had an auspicious bounce-back game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after dropping a disappointing home loss to the Chicago Bulls two nights prior.

Damian Lillard led the way for the Blazers, scoring 39 points on 13/21 from the field. CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic added 20 and 17, respectively, while the Blazers churned out their best offensive night of the year thus far.


Photo by Bruce Ely via Trail Blazers (used with permission)

Photo by Bruce Ely via Trail Blazers (used with permission)

Lineups

Minnesota: Ricky Rubio, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver, Juancho Hernangomez, Ed Davis

Portland: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Jusuf Nurkic

Game Recap

First Quarter

Damian Lillard’s six points and Robert Covington’s well-sold charge highlighted the first half of the first quarter for the Blazers, while Ed Davis’ Timberwolves started 4/8 from the field.

A Dame breakaway invited a tough finish, but Malik Beasley hit back-to-back threes before Lillard answered with one of his own.

Rodney Hood made his return towards the end of the first, as did former Blazer Jake Layman.

Second Quarter

With the second rotation getting stops and crafting a 10-point Blazers lead, Enes Kanter season was in full swing in the paint. The Turkish big-man scored three straight baskets before being replaced by Nurk halfway through the quarter. The Bosnian Beast still scored three possessions himself

Portland hit their stride from behind the arc after RoCo and Derrick Jones Jr. replaced Hood and Anthony—the Blazers hit seven straight threes after starting 1/9.

Damian Lillard started to steal the show toward the end of the half, though, totaling 26 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards.

In all, the Blazers racked up 47 points in the second quarter alone, setting a team season-high 75 points by halftime.

Third Quarter

Nurkic picked up three quick fouls to start the second half, but it was a blemish on an otherwise-fantastic performance, including 15 points on 7/7 FG to start the game.

Portland looked invincible in the third (for once), growing the lead to 30 points midway through. They totaled 36 points in one period for the second time in as many games.

D-Lo was having a solid night—26 points on 9/16 FG—and #1 pick Anthony Edwards added a career high 26 of his own, but the Wolves were no match for the Blazers without their first option Towns.

Nassir Little made his return to the floor after recovering from COVID-19, a welcome sight for Blazers fans.

The starters were benched halfway through the fourth, and Portland went on cruise control for the rest of the night.

Final Thoughts

This was a complete offensive performance from the Blazers, who took full advantage of a Timberwolves team that did not have their best player. Shooting 54.4% is rarely a bad night, especially when you have Dame.

Player(s) of the Game

Who else? It has to be Damian Lillard, who was back to his familiar ways with 39 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.

Next Up

The Blazers will visit the 7th-place Kings Saturday night at 7pm.

Don’t look now, but this could be the start of a great run for the Blazers. Their future schedule includes only three games against playoff teams in their next 12 (including the Kings twice). *knocks on wood*

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