NBA Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The T’Wolves are still hanging out right around the .500 mark, and they still have a legitimate chance to shock the rest of the league and get into the playoffs. The New Jersey Nets are the team that is really upset with all of this, as they have the rights to Minnesota’s first round draft pick this coming year, a pick which seemed to be guaranteed to be a Top 5 selection at the start of the season. However, things really are finally starting to come together for the Timberwolves. Kevin Love is still an absolute beast and now has a long term contract. Michael Beasley is proving to be a heck of a lot more effective playing in this small market instead of under the lights in South Beach, while the combination of Ricky Rubio and Jose Barea is proving to be a rock solid point guard tandem. This has also been a year for Nikola Pekovic to shine, as he has averaged 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in this, his second year in the NBA. This is still a team that is green, but the talent is clearly there and could be good enough to essentially beat anyone in the league.
Matters are getting dire for the Blazers in a hurry in the second half of the season, and all of a sudden, they are just a .500 team on the wrong side of the playoff bubble out West. A 107-93 loss to the Miami Heat was a bit of a sobering experience, as it was a harsh reminder that this is a team that has a long way to go. It was the second defeat by at least nine points that Portland suffered to start the second half of the season, and it might be time to start to think about becoming a seller instead of a buyer at the trade deadline in the next two weeks. The choice to put Jamal Crawford in the starting lineup and Raymond Felton on the bench is an interesting one, especially knowing that Crawford has basically made a career out of being a spark to change up the lineup. Though Crawford’s numbers are good in this role, Felton has become ineffective, and all of a sudden, there are times on the court that it doesn’t seem like there is a great ball handler. This is problematic for sure, and it might make a lot of players on this team suddenly dispensable, especially if this one is lost.
The Final Word: The more that we see the Blazers, the more that we tend to feel fooled by them. Something has turned this team off, and we aren’t so sure what it is, but we know that we don’t like it. The oddsmakers are still undervaluing a very talented Minnesota team in our eyes even now in the second half of the season, and we are going to be backing the T’Wolves and the points that we are surely going to be getting this weekend.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Portland Trail Blazers Free Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves