Trail Blazers vs Timberwolves Monday, 02/14/11 AT 05:00PM

Preview: Portland’s Sweet 16 In Minnesota

02/13/11
  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 5.0



    The Portland Trail Blazers can extend their longest active winning streak over a NBA franchise when they head to Minnesota and try to crush the Timberwolves for the 16 straight meeting on Valentine’s Day. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM.

    Things have been sweet for Portland (30-24), which swept the Detroit Pistons, 105-100, on Sunday for the third straight year to win its second road contest on a three-game trip.

    LaMarcus Aldridge scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed four rebounds to advance the Trail Blazers to their fourth win in a row. Wesley Matthews dropped 26 points after hitting four 3-pointers and added a team-high seven rebounds and five assists. Andre Miller had 15 points and a game-high 12 assists as Portland shot 54.7 percent from the floor. 

    Portland will look to gift Minnesota (13-41) its 16th loss, one shy from tying its best streak of 17 over the Clippers. The Trail Blazers run started on Dec. 28, 2007, when Portland pulled out a 109-98 win at the Rose Garden.

    The Trail Blazers will go for the four-year sweep after getting the better of the Timberwolves on Jan. 17, when Aldridge set an old career high of 37 points on 15-of-24 shooting and hauled in 12 rebounds to take a 113-102 victory at home.

    Matthews recorded 23 points and Miller added 15 and a game-high 10 assists as Portland won its next three games to claim its longest streak of the season at five games. 

    Kevin Love scored 22 points for Minnesota, along with Darko Milicic, and snatched 17 boards to outrebound the Trail Blazers 47-42 and 21-14 on the offensive end.    

    Portland will be dealt a tough task to keep Love and the rest to the Timberwolves off the glass in the back-to-back. 

    In Minnesota’s last four games, including its most recent 107-87 loss at home to Philadelphia on Saturday, the Timberwolves have dominated the boards 184-158.

    Love grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 16 points against the Sixers as the Timberwolves dropped their second straight matchup after shooting 36.4 percent from the field. Love has recorded two 20-point games in his last three contests and has averaged 14 rebounds over the stretch.

    Portland, which has shot better than 51 percent in its last four matchups,
    can counter Minnesota’s rebounding force with another solid shooting night. 

    Aldridge, who went 12-of-17 against Detroit, has shot 62.1 percent in three games against the Timberwolves to boasts 33.7 points and 10.7 rebounds a game.

    Even better, Aldridge has been more forceful about getting to the free-throw line. He completed 12-of-13 on Sunday, while Portland made 96.7 percent attempts, 29-of-30. Over his past three games, Aldridge has shot at least 12 free throws and converted 33-of-39.

    Matthews has had similar success from long distance, drilling 12-of-24 3-pointers and averaging 26.7 points against Minnesota for the 3-0 edge. 

    Last season, Portland scored over 100 in all four meeting to average 109.8 points and post a winning margin of 23.3 points a game.

    Portland, which holds the 8th seed in the Western Conference, can tie Denver and Utah, which sits in the 6th and 7th spot at 31-24. 

    The Trail Blazers will be without Marcus Camby, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are all nursing knee injuries.

    Watch the action on Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and listen to 95.5 FM The Game with play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey. 

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