Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

Josh Okogie and Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves defend against Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Josh Okogie and Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves defend against Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Timberwolves take their five-game losing streak to the West Coast as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers for the first time this season.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

The Timberwolves and Trail Blazers each enter Sunday evening’s showdown at Moda Center in desperate need of a win.

The Blazers have lost four straight games and seven of their last eight. The Wolves have lost five consecutive. Both teams are 11-15 and are nowhere near where they expected to be nearly one-third of the way through the schedule.

Depending on your perspective of the Damian Lillard situation, Portland’s lot could be considered to be either better or worse than the Wolves’. On the one hand, the Blazers have Lillard on the squad, and they’re a playoff team when he’s healthy and on the floor.

On the other hand, reports have swirled regarding his apparent unhappiness for the better part of the last six months. New head coach Chauncey Billups has had a roller-coaster of a first season, to say the least, and there are mixed reports regarding how the players feel about him.

Recent fake trades floated by ESPN include a potential move that would send Lillard to Minnesota. In the mind of yours truly, such a deal would be a no-brainer for the Wolves and a non-starter for Portland.

Minnesota Timberwolves odds at Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers are favored by a single point on their home floor, according to WynnBett. Notably, both Lillard and D’Angelo Russell are both questionable to play after missing several games due to injury.

TV and streaming info for Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers

What to watch for in Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers

Portland has the No. 29 defense in the league and has allowed opponents to shoot an insane 38.2 percent from 3-point range, the league’s worst mark.

The Wolves offense has been nearly as bad as the Blazers’ defense, ranking No. 24 in efficiency and No. 22 in 3-point shooting percentage.

It’s a classic “something has to give” situation, really. On the flip side, the Wolves defense has been solid overall but struggled mightily during the ongoing five-game losing streak. Minnesota has allowed opponents to shoot free throws at a ridiculous rate but has led the league in opponent’s turnover rate as well; Portland is middle-of-the-pack in both categories.

If Russell is able to play for Minnesota, it will be a complete game-changer. Opponents won’t be able to crash on Karl-Anthony Towns nearly as hard when he catches the ball inside the arc, and there will be another offensive threat who has the ability to get his shot off from anywhere on the floor to help take pressure off Towns and Anthony Edwards.

The Wolves will be challenged to slow down Lillard if he’s able to play, but CJ McCollum was recently diagnosed with a collapsed lung and will not be on the court.

Minnesota should have Patrick Beverley, and believe it or not, Russell being healthy would help quite a bit in stopping Lillard. DLo has been legitimately solid on defense this year and his size in the backcourt would be nice to have. Also, look for Josh Okogie to have an opportunity to play a bit more in this one given the Blazers’ offensive prowess.

Injury report for Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have Lillard listed as questionable. McCollum is out, and both Cody Zeller and Anfernee Simons are listed as questionable.

Russell, who is questionable and missed the last three games with ankle soreness, is the only Wolves player on the injury report.

Next. The Wolves should stay away from Buddy Hield. dark

We’ll be back after the game with player grades and key takeaways. Enjoy the game and here’s to 12-15!