8 p.m. at PORTLAND • FSN, 830-aM
Preview: The Timberwolves, short on healthy big men themselves, get a break facing a Trail Blazers team that is missing All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is sitting out at least the first week after the break to heal strained groin muscles. The Blazers are 1-1 without him, losing 111-109 to San Antonio and beating Utah 102-94, both at home. The victory over the Jazz ended a three-game losing streak, the Blazers’ longest of the season. … At 37-18, they are tied with Houston for the West’s third-best record and are 20-7 at home. … The Wolves have lost 23 of the past 26 games to the Blazers, including two of three this season. They beat the Blazers at Target Center in December 120-109, then lost 115-104 at Portland in January and 117-110 in Minneapolis two weeks later.
Players to watch: Wolves killer Wesley Matthews is fourth in the NBA In three-pointers made (140) and is having a career year so far: He is averaging 16.9 points and four rebounds a game and his 40.9 three-point percentage is the best of his career as well. … Blazers C Robin Lopez, an astute acquisition last summer, is having a career year, too, averaging career highs in rebounds (8.7 a game) that included a career-high 18 in Friday’s victory over the Jazz. He has a career-high 21 double-doubles this season, more than the rest of his career combined (15). … Rookie C.J. McCollum, whom the Wolves passed on in last June’s draft, is averaging 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and shooting 43.2 percent from the field while playing 19.5 minutes off the bench in his past five games after he missed the season’s first 32 because of a fractured foot.
Injuries: Wolves C Nikola Pekovic (ankle bursitis) is questionable, G Kevin Martin (fractured thumb) and C Ronny Turiaf (knee bone bruise) are out. Aldridge, C Joel Freeland (knee sprain) and C Meyers Leonard (ankle sprain) are out for the Blazers.