Injuries will hold out Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love against the Trail Blazers.
By JOAN NIESENFS North
MINNEAPOLIS – The
Timberwolves will be without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio for Saturday night's game against the Trail Blazers. Love is sidelined with the sprained finger in his right hand that he sustained in the third quarter of Thursday's game, and Rubio has still not recovered from the back spasms that caused him to miss the past three games.
Rubio was present at shootaround and stayed late, shooting and running the court with assistant coach Terry Porter.
The Timberwolves are 2-1 since Rubio's back spasms began, and they mounted a comeback on Thursday from a 10-point deficit after Love left the game.
Blazers are blazing: The Timberwolves lost to the Trail Blazers the one time they faced them earlier this season, 103-95, on Nov. 23. Minnesota went into the second half of that game with a five-point lead before being outscored 53-40 in the second half.
Portland has won nine of its last 10 games en route to a 17-15 record going into Saturday. It played Friday night in Memphis, winning 86-84 on a 21-point night from Wesley Matthews and a 19-point night from J.J. Hickson.
The Timberwolves have lost 18 of their last 20 games against the Blazers, although the two wins came last March (before Rubio's injury).
Remember him? This will be Batum's first trip to the Target Center since the tug-of-war between the Timberwolves and Trail Blazers over signing him over the summer. Since re-signing with Portland, Batum is having a career year, averaging 16.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists. They're all career-high numbers; before this year, he'd never averaged more than 1.5 assists.