Key for Portland: Keep pressure on Wolves’ backcourt
The Wolves, on the other hand, have been wildly inconsistent in defending opposing guards. While Minnesota has done a great job creating turnovers of late, that’s been their only real means of slowing down their opponents. Lillard should be able to score at will on Jeff Teague, and McCollum will surely take advantage of either a) Jimmy Butler and his injured back, b) Butler’s replacement in the lineup if he is unable to suit up, or c) Andrew Wiggins.
It will be interesting to see if a potentially Butler-less Wolves squad experiments at all with a small backcourt to counter the Blazers small-ball lineup with McCollum at the two-guard and Aminu at power forward. Tom Thibodeau isn’t one to experiment much with lineup combinations, but a Teague-Tyus Jones backcourt could be fun and an interesting counter to Portland’s duo.
I would expect this game to feature a barrage of 3-pointers from the fantastic Blazers backcourt, while the Wolves attempt to counter inside the arc. It’s likely not a recipe for success for the Timberwolves, but we’ll see how it plays out.