Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

They're No. 8!: Wolves beat Blazers 106-94

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves players, Wolves postgame, Wolves trade talk, Wolves news Updated: March 8, 2012 - 3:39 AM

A little of this and that from Wednesday's 106-94 victory over Portland at Target Center.

* Don't look now but if the season ended tonight, the Wolves would be in the playoffs.

That's right.

The Wolves now have won three straight, five straight at home and eight of their last 11 and at 21-19, they are eighth in the West.

They're tied with Houston there, but the Wolves already have won the season series 3-1 from the Rockets, so if they do end up tied for eighth six weeks from now, the Wolves would win the first tiebreaker for head-to-head record.

* Here's the game story from Wednesday night.

You can find it right here.

* Wes Johnson's 19 points on 8 for 11 shooting were a season high.He now has made nine of his last 14 threes after going 3 for 4 Wednesday while also scoring on a couple very nice putback dunks.

This was just his sixth double-digit scoring game this season and only his second since Feb. 3 at New Jersey.

And get this: The Wolves now are 8-2 when he scores nine or more points.

Some stuff from Wes after the game...

"I wasn't down, I wasn't losing confidence in my shot, it just wasn't going in. I just tried to stay with it. Tonight, it was going in. I felt it as soon as the first shot, especially in warmups. I had a bounce in my step. I told Luke because he was running around the locker room, `How you feel? and he said, `I feel good,' and I told him, `I do, too.'

"I was just out there playing. My mind was clear of everything, I wasn't thinking about much of anything, just out there playing basketball, that's what I was doing.

"You think about shots not going. You try not to think about it, but when it's out there playing, it kind of messes with me. But now I just have to realize `Don't worry about it,' eventually it's going to go in. After that, the shot was going in. I knew from the first one. You just have to see one."

Adelman on Wes: "He was huge. He made big shots, got the offensive boards(3), defended well. Just had a solid game. He has just got to keep taking his shots. If they are open, he needs to take them. He is capable of making them and it's just a matter of getting comfortable and having the confidence that when it comes to him, he just shoots it."

* Luke Ridnour had yet another productive night -- 22 points, 5 assists in nearly 37 minutes -- and made all the right plays when the Blazers knocked a 14-point deficit down to six midway through the fourth.

He scored seven straight for the Wolves and pushed the lead back to 11.

There's been a lot of chatter nationally about the Wolves acquiring Blazers guard Jamal Crawford before next week's trade deadline since I had a couple items on Saturday that Crawford sounds like he regrets not signing with the Wolves in December and the Wolves definitely still have interest in him.

I don't know if other scribes nationally are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with Ridnour-for-Crawford talk, but I understand there's been a bit of it and I just don't see the Wolves trading Ridnour, not in that deal.

What would they do if Rubio went down?

Here's my colleague Pat Reusse's column on Ridnour from the game. You can find it here.

J.J. Barea is fragile -- as witnessed by yet another injury tonight -- and much more the world's smallest shooting guard than he is a point guard.

Malcolm Lee hasn't even played an NBA minute yet and Crawford can play some point, but you wouldn't want to have to rely on him much there.

* Barea sprained the same ankle he hurt earlier this season and he did it midway through the fourth quarter.

Afterward, he said he'd be back as soon as possible, but it was swollen and red and he said it hurt worse than the first time he did it.

So this could be another week or two thing.

If it is, expect the Wolves to call Lee back from Sioux Falls in the D League. You might even see him make his NBA debut sometime soon if Barea is out for any significant time.

* Michael Beasley played fewer than eight minutes and you really got to wonder if he's still around when the trading deadline passes next Thursday.

Adelman was asked about Beasley's future with the team after the game and here's what he said, "He's one of the team. There is no, I don't comment on the future. I used him tonight. He made shots tonight (2 for 3). I'm going to play the people who can win the game and Michael's certainly one of them."

* I've already touched on Wes, Ridnour, Beasley and haven't even mentioned Kevin Love.

 He had 15 points in the first quarter, 20 by halftime, 24 by the end of the third and finished with 29 and 16 rebounds, which compared to his games Saturday at Portland and Monday against the Clippers seems like just a routine game.

He played 44:34 and Adelman was asked if he can keep playing Love that much.

"He is right now," Adelman said. "He's got tomorrow off."

If you're into those manufactured stats that the Elias Sports Bureau puts out...Love tonight became the first player in NBA history to record 25 points, 10 rebounds and three three-pointers in three consecutive games.

Of course, as my colleague Pat Reusse points out, that NBA history only dates to 1979, when the three-point line was introduced.

Love now has scored 110 points in his last three games. That's one point shy of the club record set by Kevin Garnett, who scored 111 in three straight games once.

He outdid Blazers All Star LaMarcus Aldridge for the second straight game. Aldridge scored 22 -- most of them on first-half jumpers -- but the Wolves held him to just five points after halftime, and only two in the fourth quarter.

* The Wolves' 13 threes are a season high. They went 13-for-23 and now have made 36 threes in their last three games.

* When should we start talking about Rick Adelman for Coach of the Year?

* Go figure this: The Wolves hadn't beaten the Blazers in nearly five years, and now have done it twice in five days. "That kind of crazy," Williams said.

* Another good start against the Blazers: They scored 40 in Saturday's win at Portland and had 37 in the first Wednesday.

* The Wolves last won five straight at home from Dec. 26, 2006 to Jan. 7, 2007, when they beat Chicago, Seattle, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Houston.

* The Wolves now are two games over. 500 for the first time this late in the season since they had a winning 44-38 season in 2004-05, the season after that run to the Western Conference finals.

* The Wolves now are a combined 9-2 this season against Portland, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. They were 2-57 against those four teams in the previous four seasons.

* They're now 16-10 against Western Conference teams. They were 15-89 against the West in the last two seasons.

That's it for tonight from Target Center.

The Wolves will practice lightly Thursday -- Kent will blog and write about that -- and then they've got a Lakers team that just lost at Detroit and Washington on consecutive nights coming in Friday night.

The Wolves already have ended long losing streaks against Portland, Dallas and Spurs this season. Can they do it again, this time against the Lakers?

I'll be back Friday for that game and we'll see.

Stay tuned...

 

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