NBA Basketball
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107
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Portland 24 30 31 22 107
Minnesota 24 27 25 32 108
108
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 18, 2017
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 14,187

Timberwolves could be without Butler vs. Blazers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. The Trail Blazers have won three straight games while allowing under 100 points in all three. Portland has held opponents to fewer than 100 points in 15 of 29 games this year after doing so in 21 of 82 last season.
  2. The Timberwolves held a four-point lead after three quarters against the Suns on Saturday but were outscored in the fourth quarter by six points before losing, 108-106. Minnesota has the worst average fourth-quarter point differential in the NBA this season at minus-2.9.
  3. Portland won three of four between these teams last season and has a 32-7 (.821) record against Minnesota since the 2007-08 season. That is the Trail Blazers' best record versus any single opponent in that span and the 32 wins are tied for the most by any team versus any single opponent.
  4. Damian Lillard is one of six players this season averaging at least 25.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game (minimum 70 percent of team games). The only other Trail Blazer to post those numbers in a single season is Clyde Drexler, who did so in 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1991-92.
  5. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota in points and rebounds in the loss to the Suns, his 10th game this season leading the team outright in both. That is the second-most such games in the NBA this season behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has done so 18 times.
  6. Taj Gibson recorded his 12th double-double of the year in the loss to Phoenix, surpassing his total of 11 from a season ago. Gibson and Towns have a combined 36 double-doubles this season, the third most by any teammate duo.

MINNEAPOLIS -- A disappointing loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday has the Minnesota Timberwolves searching for consistency and the right formula to bring out their best.

With the Portland Trail Blazers coming to town Monday, Minnesota has a new worry: the health of Jimmy Butler.

Butler was injured in the Saturday loss, going to the locker room before returning to the court and trying to push the Timberwolves to victory while wincing through back pain. Minnesota listed Butler questionable for the home game against Portland.

"I could tell his back was bothering him," Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. "He was in a lot of pain. Every time he was trying to move, every time he was trying to cut, he was in a lot of pain. He tried to thug it out, being the warrior that he is."

Portland (16-13) is healthy and trying pass on Minnesota (17-13), which sits in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers have won three consecutive games after beating the Charlotte Hornets 93-91 on Saturday. They finish up a five-game road trip Monday with their first game against the Timberwolves this season.

"It's the NBA; wins and losses is all that matters," Portland guard CJ McCollum told the team's website after the Saturday win. "No one remembers (which teams you beat), they only remember (the losses). So got to continue to build on that, finish the road trip off strong in Minnesota.

"They're going to be ready to play, it's going to be another good environment with a good crowd. ... Just got to keep trying to push forward, take advantage of games and the play better at home once we get back."

The Trail Blazers have won seven of their past nine meetings with the Timberwolves.

McCollum scored 25 points against Charlotte, and Damian Lillard had 18 points and 11 assists. However, Portland's winning streak has been put together with strong defense.

The Blazers have held the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Charlotte to 95 points or less. Portland is fourth in the NBA in defensive rating, giving up 101.5 points per 100 possessions.

"Three road wins in a row is pretty good," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "The last few minutes were kind of exciting, but I was proud that we were able to hang on.

"Nothing's easy. That's part of the NBA. It would be nice to have a 20-point win, but those are hard to come by."

Defense has held Minnesota back this season.

While the team is off to the third-best start in franchise history after 30 games, there is a sense the Timberwolves have not fulfilled their potential after adding Butler, Gibson and Jeff Teague to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Minnesota ranks fifth in the NBA in offensive rating but is 25th in defensive rating, allowing 107.6 points per 100 possessions.

The fourth quarter -- when Phoenix outscored Minnesota 31-25 on Saturday -- has been a particular issue. The Timberwolves are 28th in the league in fourth-quarter scoring and have the largest deficit in scoring margin in the fourth of any team in the NBA.

"You saw what happened. We gave the game up," Towns said. "We gave it away about three times in the game, and we couldn't pull it out at the end."

And now the Timberwolves might be without Butler, who was held out of much of the Sunday practice due to back spasms.

"He didn't do much today," coach Tom Thibodeau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Just getting treatment. We'll see how he is (Monday)."

Butler missed two games in October because of illness, and Minnesota lost both in disappointing fashion. A 130-107 home defeat to Indiana was followed by a 122-101 loss at Detroit.

Updated December 18, 2017

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