(Sports Network) – A pair of Northwest Division rivals riding three-game losing streaks square off tonight in the Rose City, as the Portland Trail Blazers play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Portland will begin a three-game homestand tonight and will also welcome Golden State and Milwaukee to the Rose Garden. It is 7-3 as the host this season and lost the last three installments of a four-game road trip.
In a 103-98 loss at Dallas on Wednesday, Portland leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge had a season-high 35 points to go with 10 rebounds and Wesley Matthews provided 17 points for the Blazers, who have dropped three in a row since a four-game winning streak and fell to 4-9 in the past 13 contests.
“It’s tough to deal with,” said Aldridge, who has scored at least 20 points in eight of his last 15 games. “But we’ve just got to take what we did to come back [from] 17 down and start games off like that, more confident with a better rhythm.”
Brandon Roy scored only four points and handed out five assists, while Nicolas Batum scored 11 points and had six rebounds off the bench. The Blazers committed a season-low eight turnovers and went 11 straight games without allowing 100 points until losing to the Mavs.
The Blazers are first in the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (.311) and rank third in the league with 13.4 offensive rebounds per game. Aldridge and Marcus Camby have a lot to do with that.
Minnesota has dropped the first three tests of a six-game road trip and is coming off Wednesday’s 128-122 loss in Phoenix. Kevin Love, who is probable with a lower body injury tonight, recorded 23 points and 16 rebounds in a losing cause.
Corey Brewer added 20 points, while Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley both scored 17 in the loss. The Wolves actually had a 58-38 advantage in the paint.
“We just made a bunch of mistakes in our defensive coverage,” Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis said. “Whether it was pick and rolls or transition, from the very start of the ball game guys weren’t putting their heads down and running back.”
Darko Milicic netted 16 points in defeat, Minnesota’s ninth in a row away from the Target Center. The Wolves are only 1-14 as the visitor this season and will also visit the Nuggets and Clippers on the trek.
The Blazers and T’Wolves are meeting for the first time since Portland swept a four-game series a year ago. The Trail Blazers have won 12 straight, 13 of 14 and 16 of the previous matchups with Minnesota, losers of nine in a row in the Pacific Northwest.