Dec 17, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) reacts after making a game-winning, three-point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Game 26 Preview: Blazers (22-4) @ Wolves (12-13)

The world loves clutch scorers — they love reigning NBA Rookie of the Year’s, too. So, you know. Lillard is hot right now.


Damian Lillard’s clutch shooting is the latest reason why the Portland Trail Blazers own the best record in the NBA.

A meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves may not require such heroics.

Lillard and the Trail Blazers hope to make things a lot easier on themselves Wednesday night when they try to continue their dominance of the Timberwolves.

Portland (22-4) is on the cusp of sweeping a four-game road trip with a sixth straight win after Lillard hit a go-ahead 3 with 0.4 seconds left in Tuesday’s 119-116 victory at Cleveland. That came two days after the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year connected on a fadeaway jumper as time expired to cinch a 111-109 overtime win at Detroit.

Lillard’s performances went well beyond the clutch shooting, totaling 59 points over the last two games. That includes a season-high 36 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds against the Cavaliers, while his decisive 3 was his career-best eighth of the contest.

“There is no explaining it,” coach Terry Stotts said. “Damian had it going, so we ran it through him.”

That may only continue since Lillard averaged 23.3 points on 54.5 percent from the floor — 9 for 20 from beyond the arc — while helping the Trail Blazers win all four meetings with Minnesota (12-13) last season.

The Blazers lead the league in points per game, are fourth in rebounds and assists. They shoot over 41% from three as a team (also leading the league). It’s all coming up Millhouse for Portland this year.

Blazers probable starting lineup:

PG Damian Lillard

SG Wesley Matthews

SF Nicolas Batum

PF LaMarcus Aldridge

C Robin Lopez

Lillard’s getting all the pub, but Aldridge is putting up a career high 11 rebounds a night this year. He’s averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds on over 52% shooting over his last 5.

Wolves probable staring lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

Kevin Martin is listed as probable following his participation in this morning’s shoot around. Which is good, because the Wolves will need his contributions on offense to keep pace and avoid allowing Pek and Love to be the sole focus of the Wolves offense.

Dante Cunningham also participated in shoot around and looks to be available, as well.

Tags: Damian Lillard Game Preview Kevin Love Nicolas Batum Nikola Pekovic Portland Trail Blazers Pregame Ricky Rubio

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