Preview: Wolves at Portland
- March 1, 2013 - 10:46 PM
Preview: The Blazers have lost eight of their past nine games and at 26-31 have fallen to 10th in the Western Conference, four games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot. ... The Blazers have won the season's first three meetings -- one in Portland, two in Minneapolis -- and are going for the sweep for the fifth time in the past six seasons. They've won 20 of the past 22 games with Minnesota and 10 of the past 11 at home. ... The Wolves didn't practice on Friday and won't shoot on Saturday morning because of their depleted numbers. Starters Andrei Kirilenko (strained calf) and Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) are doubtful for Saturday.
Players to watch: Portland guard Damian Lillard on Friday went 4-for-4 this season, winning the Western Conference's rookie of the month award for February after having already won it in November, December and January. He is the first NBA player to reach 1,000 points and 300 assists in his first 55 games since LeBron James did it in 2003-04. He leads all rookies in scoring (18.4) and assists (6.4) per game. ... Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum -- whom the Wolves signed to that $45 million offer sheet that Portland matched last summer -- is the only NBA player this season to have at least 10 points, nine assists, five steals and three blocks in a game, and he has done it twice this season.
Injuries: Kirilenko and Pekovic are doubtful. Wolves F Kevin Love (broken hand), F Chase Budinger (knee surgery), G Brandon Roy (knees), G Malcolm Lee (knee, hip surgeries) are out. Blazers G Elliot Williams (Achilles tendon) is out.
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