The Timberwolves were idle Friday, coming off a 101-97 win over Denver Jan. 3. They maintained ground on Portland, who escaped with an 86-84 win over Memphis in the Northwest division.
The Trail Blazers got double-digit scoring from all five starters, including 21 points from Wesley Matthews, who was 5-8 from behind the arc.
The Wolves and Blazers square off Satruday at 7 p.m. CT from Target Center in Minneapolis. The game will help clear the logjam among the followers of Oklahoma City in the Northwest. The Nuggets and Blazers trail by eight games, tied for second, with Minnesota trailing them by a half-game. Utah is in last, just one game behind Denver and Portland.
The Jazz defeated Phoenix 87-80 Friday, and have won two in a row, including a 106-84 thrashing of the Timberwolves Jan. 2.
The division-leading Thunder rebounded from a loss to crush Philadelphia 109-85 Friday. It was their fourth win in their past five games, having fallen to Brooklyn 110-93 Jan. 2.