A full game ahead of the Denver Nuggets in their quest for the eight seed in Western Conference playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers (38-40) begin a four-game homestand to close the season Thursday night with a nationally televised tilt with the Minnesota Timberwolves (31-46) on TNT. The Trail Blazers and Timberwolves have met twice already in the past 10 days, with each team claiming a victory on their respective home courts. Portland owns the season series, 2-1, with a 95-89 victory in Minneapolis on New Year’s Day providing the advantage.
Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard enters Thursday’s contest with an average of 26.6 points per game, the seventh-best mark in the NBA this season. Through three games with the Timberwolves this season, CJ McCollum is 30.7 points per game on 61.5% shooting from the field, including a career-high 43 points at Minnesota on January 1.
Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns recorded a double-double of 34 points and 12 rebounds in Monday’s win over the Trail Blazers, while Andrew Wiggins added 29 points. Overall, Towns has recored a double-double in five of seven career games versus the Blazers with averages of 20.3 points and 10 rebounds. Wiggins has gone for over 20 points in four consecutive games versus Portland.
Thursday’s tipoff is set for 7:30pm Pacific with national coverage on TNT. The matchup is also available locally on Rip City Radio 620 and the Trail Blazers mobile app.