PORTLAND - The Timberolves still have the NBA’s second-worst record with four games remaining after Wednesday’s 116-91 loss in Portland. They trailed by 19 points in the first quarter and by as many as 28. New York has 15 victories, the Wolves have 16 and Philadelphia has 18.
The Wolves were outrebounded 53-35, outdone in made three-pointers 12-3 and never led. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman all returned to the Blazers’ lineup Wednesday after they were rested for Monday’s loss at Brooklyn. The Blazers flew cross-country to play one game after a January game there was postponed because of the threat of an approaching snowstorm.
“It’s men against boys,” coach Flip Saunders said after rookie Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves with 29 points. “We have four guys who in the last year have played in the NBDL [D League]. It’s a different situation when you look at all those things. Aldridge is so good. They’re good. They’re one of the top five, six teams in the league.”
Wolves veteran guard Kevin Martin played 33-plus minutes Wednesday in Portland after he scored 37 points in 44 minutes at Sacramento on Tuesday. He missed six games recently because of hamstring issues after he played 44, 44 and 37 minutes in three consecutive games.
“He’s one of those guys who when he gets loose and he hits a couple shots, he doesn’t hurt nearly as much,” Saunders said.
Martin’s 37 points at Sacramento came on 31 field-goal attempts, a career high. He was 3-for-11 on three-pointers.
“It was a bad 37-point night for me,” said Martin, who scored 17 Wednesday on 5-for-15 shooting. “It should have been an easy 50. That’s what happens in this league sometimes.”
Newly signed Arinze Onuaku played 10 minutes Wednesday in second game with the Wolves after he signed a 10-day, emergency-hardship contract Tuesday. Meanwhile, his Canton, Ohio, team in the D League started playoffs Wednesday and beat Sioux Falls comfortably without him.
Onuaku packed some things Monday night, flew to Sacramento on Tuesday and arrived that afternoon before he played nearly 16 minutes in a loss that night.
• If the season had ended Wednesday, the Wolves would have a 19.9 percent chance of winning the May draft lottery. If they tie the Knicks for the worst record, a blind draw would be held to determine who’d draft ahead of the other if neither wins a top-three pick.
• Wolves vice president of basketball operations Rob Babcock, director of international player personnel/scout Zarko Durisic and scout Milt Barnes as well as general manager Milt Newton attended Nike Hoop Summit workouts — a week-long gathering of American and international prospects for the 2016 draft and beyond — in Portland on Wednesday and attended the Wolves-Blazers game as well.
• Kevin Garnett didn’t play Wednesday, but Saunders said he remains “optimistic” that Garnett will play again before the season ends next week, four games from now.