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Portland22213531109
Minnesota31382922120
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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, December 18th (All times Eastern)

Portland Trail Blazers (22-4) at Minnesota Timberwolves (12-13), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard has been cool in the clutch and the Portland Trail Blazers are reaping the awards.

Lillard and the Blazers shoot for a sixth straight win when they close out a four-game road trip Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Blazers are 3-0 on the trek following Tuesday's 119-116 victory at Cleveland, as Lillard nailed the game-winning 3-pointer over Alonzo Gee with less than a second on the clock.

The talented second-year player, who burned the Detroit Pistons with a game- winning shot in overtime on Sunday, took the inbounds pass with 7.1 seconds remaining and knocked down a triple from the top of the key. Lillard's teammates swarmed him after the big bucket and he finished with 36 points on 11-of-23 shooting, 10 assists and made 8-of-12 from beyond the arc.

"I made a move to get (Gee) off-balance, and I made sure that I was ready when I froze him," Lillard said.

Lillard is averaging 25.0 points per game in his last three for the Blazers, who have won five in a row, nine of 10 games and are an NBA-best 22-4 this season. LaMarcus Aldridge posted 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum scored 19 and 14 points, respectively.

Portland surpassed last season's road win total by improving to 12-2 as the guest and has scored 100-plus points in 13 straight games. The Blazers are first in the NBA in scoring (108.3 ppg) and will start a three-game homestand this weekend versus New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami.

Aldridge has posted 10 or more field goals in five straight games and leads the Blazers with 23.6 ppg and 11.0 rpg. Aldridge, who is probable Wednesday with a bruised right hand, has tallied four straight double-doubles and is averaging 25.6 ppg in his last five games.

Minnesota is back home for a quick matchup with Portland and went 1-2 on a recent road trip, which culminated with Monday's 101-97 loss at Boston.

The Timberwolves entered their meeting against the Celtics with three wins in the past four games, but couldn't slow down Jared Sullinger, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Wolves star Kevin Love ended with 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic posted 13 points and Dante Cunningham added 12 in defeat.

"We had every chance to win that game; couldn't make a layup, couldn't make a shot, for our starters it really was a struggle. We just missed too many opportunities that were right there for us," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.

Love leads the T'Wolves in points (25.0) and rebounds (13.6), and is averaging 30.2 points per game in the last five. In injury news for Minnesota, Cunningham (ankle) and Kevin Martin (knee) are questionable Wednesday.

Minnesota, which will visit the Lakers and Clippers this weekend, is 0-5 when failing to score 100 points this season and lost all four meetings with Portland in 2012-13. The Blazers have won five straight, 21 of 23 and 25 of the past 29 meetings with the Timberwolves.

Portland is 10-1 in its last 11 trips to the Twin Cities.

12/18 10:26:50 ET

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Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
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CHC 0
CIN 0
 
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PIT
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WAS
STL
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CLE
TOR
7:08pm Tonight
DET
ANA
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NYM
ATL
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
8:40pm Tonight
COL
PHI
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
DET
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
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