The Blazers attempt to win their season-high fourth straight at the Rose Garden and beat the Timberwolves for the 13th consecutive time Friday night.
Portland (12-14) opened its recently completed road trip with a 101-94 victory over Phoenix on Dec. 10, but didn’t win again over the final three games. LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) scored 20 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday, but the Blazers fell 103-98 to Dallas.
“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,” Aldridge told the team’s official website. “We came out kind of slow. We’ve got to start the game off better.”
Portland should have a good opportunity for a better start against Minnesota, which is allowing an NBA-worst 56.4 points in the first half. The Timberwolves (6-20) are yielding 109.8 per game, second most in the league, and 113.1 over nine straight road losses.
The Blazers have outscored the Wolves 102.5-88.8 during their 12-game run in the series.
During one of its best offensive performances of the season Wednesday, Minnesota held a fourth-quarter lead at Phoenix but couldn’t recover after giving up 11 straight points in a 128-122 defeat.
Kevin Love(notes) had 23 points and 16 rebounds for his career-best 12th consecutive double-double, but couldn’t help the Timberwolves avoid their third straight loss - all during a season-high six-game trip.
“We just made a bunch of mistakes in our defensive coverage,” coach Kurt Rambis said. “Whether it was pick-and-rolls or transition, from the very start of the game guys weren’t putting their heads down and running back.”
Blazers guard Brandon Roy(notes) will look to take advantage of the defensively challenged Wolves as he tries to end his offensive struggles. He has averaged 6.7 points and 24.3 percent shooting over the last three games.
Roy, though, has averaged 10.3 points in his last four meetings with Minnesota - far below his career scoring average of 19.9. He scored seven points in the teams’ most recent matchup, a 110-91 road victory Feb. 27.
Love has struggled against Portland, averaging 5.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in five games. However, the NBA’s leading rebounder at 15.6 a contest missed three of the four matchups last season.
Minnesota, 1-26 in its last 27 on the road, has dropped nine straight in Portland.