The Minnesota Timberwolves used a big second quarter to extend their winning streak to five games, as the Wolves defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 120-103.
1. The Wolves offense was hitting on all cylinders in this game. All five starters reached double figures, and three scored 20, led by Jimmy Butler's 24. Jeff Teague added 22, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20, while Andrew Wiggins scored 17 and Taj Gibson scored 12. In addition, they did this on very efficient shooting as a team they were 53.8 percent from the field, 36.8 from three, and 81.8 percent from the free throw line. The biggest reason why they had such success offensively was their dominance in the paint, outscoring the Blazers 50-38.
2. As for the defensive side, the Wolves started out slow, allowing the Blazers to score 33 in the first quarter, but they kept pace with them offensively scoring 31, then battened down the hatches on D in the second quarter, as the Blazers only scored 10 points, giving the Wolves a 14-point lead at the half as they scored 26. The Blazers were 2-15 from the field, and 0-5 from three. The only points from the field they scoree were on a Zach Collins layup and an Al-Farouq Aminu layup.
3. A little more on Jeff Teague. Since returning from injury for the Wednesday, January 10th game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Teague scored only eight points and 12 points. In those games, Teague shot 3-6 and 3-11 from the field, and 1-3 and 1-6 from three. But on Sunday, Teague scored 22 points, had eight assists, on 8-15 shooting, hitting his one three point attempt and committing only two turnovers.
1. The Wolves defense had strung together a long streak of high quality play, but the past two games it has faltered. They allowed over 100 points in their 118-108 victory against the Knicks on Friday, and then did the same on Sunday as they allowed 103 to the Blazers. In the first and third quarter the Wolves allowed 30-plus points. On the day the Blazers shot 44 percent from three, leading their charge offensively, but the big defensive performance in the second quarter was the difference in this one.
2. The Blazers' Pat Connaughton had a fantastic game off the bench, scoring 18 points on 7-13 from the field and 4-8 from three. Meanwhile, the Wolves bench only scored 25 as a unit.
3. The final negative for the Wolves would be shooting only 36.8 percent from three, and that was largely due to Jamal Crawford. Crawford scored 10 points, but he was 2-7 from beyond the arc.
Sunday's game marked the end of a perfect 5-0 home stand, so they will take Monday off as they travel to Orlando to play at 6:00 against the Orlando Magic.