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Wolves take it to struggling Portland, winning 116-93

One of the Timberwolves most embarrassing losses of last season, and one that typified who that team was, came on April 2.

The Wolves were jockeying for playoff positioning to avoid the play-in tournament and had a matchup with a tanking Portland team that was sitting Damian Lillard. The Wolves lost that game, and it was still fresh in their minds headed into Friday.

As forward Jaden McDaniels put it at shootaround, "Our headlights are on."

They never turned them off in a 116-93 rout of Portland.

The Wolves did as they should against a rebuilding and injured team (no DeAndre Ayton, Sheadon Sharpe and Robert Williams) that lost to Oklahoma City by 62 on Thursday.

With those injuries, the Blazers had no size to contend with the Wolves, and the Wolves took full advantage on both ends. Rudy Gobert had 24 points and 17 rebounds while Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 and eight rebounds. Naz Reid added 14 off the bench.

Anthony Edwards had just nine but he was content to let his teammates get theirs on a night coach Chris Finch emptied his bench for almost the entire fourth quarter.

The Wolves began the night ahead 11-0 as it had a balanced scoring attack from the start. Gobert, who entered the night questionable because of left hip soreness that caused him to miss Wednesday's game against Boston, had six points and rebounds in his first stint. Towns, who welcomed the crowd in honor of the team's Pride Night before the game, had 10 points on 3-for-3 shooting.

The Wolves didn't allow Portland any room to maneuver on defense, and held the Blazers to just 5-for-20. That led to a 36-15 lead after one. The only blemish was McDaniels' tendency to lose his cool showed up again in a technical foul for firing the ball at an official. But McDaniels' defense was stellar on budding Blazers star Anfernee Simons, who was 0-for-10 on the night for five points.

The Wolves let up in the second quarter, and a lack of offensive execution allowed Portland to cut that lead to as little as nine, but the Wolves closed the half strong, on a 15-3 run, and took a 63-42 lead into the locker room.

The continued to pour it on after the half with a third quarter that looked like the first. Gobert had another eight points and seven rebounds, and a 25-15 effort in the third allowed Finch to rest most of his regular rotation players the entire quarter. No Wolves player logged more than 28 minutes.

Edwards didn't score a point during the second and third quarters, and he had just nine through three. But much like their game against Orlando, the Wolves didn't need Edwards going at full throttle when the rest of their offense was operating how it was.

Coming out of their recent 16-game gauntlet, the Wolves were due for a night like Friday – one that was an easy win on paper coming into the night, and one that turned out that way on the floor.

Nights like these hardly came last season, now the Wolves have turned them into a regular occurrence.