7 p.m. vs. Portland • Target Center • FSN, 830-AM

Wolves improve on defense

Wolves update: The Wolves and Portland meet for the second time this season after the Wolves fell 113-106 in Portland on Dec. 21. C Karl-Anthony Towns didn't play in that game and his status for Thursday is questionable again after missing the past 11 games because of a left knee sprain. The Wolves have had the best defensive efficiency in the NBA while Towns has been out. … Andrew Wiggins returned to the lineup on the recent two-game road trip and is shooting 12 of 32 in his return, 4 of 14 from three-point range. … Guard Jarrett Culver is coming off the best two-game stretch of his career. Culver followed up a 14-point, four-steal effort against Cleveland on Sunday with a career-high 24 points against Memphis on Tuesday.

Blazers update: The Blazers have won two of three after dropping five consecutive games and they are concluding a five-game road trip. Portland will be without Skal Labissiere, who hasn't played on the road trip because of a knee injury. Labissiere had 11 points in the teams' first meeting. … Damian Lillard ranks seventh in the NBA in scoring at 26.9 points per game. … Two seasons ago Portland had the sixth highest-rated defense (105.7 points per 100 possessions) but after finishing 16th a season ago, they are 22nd this season. It's one of the reasons why Portland has struggled to a 16-22 record this season after making the Western Conference finals a season ago.

Chris Hine