Trail Blazers-Timberwolves Preview

All-Star snub LaMarcus Aldridge has been on an incredible tear

for the Portland Trail Blazers over this past week.

He has put up similar gaudy numbers against the Minnesota

Timberwolves this entire season.

Aldridge looks to lead the Trail Blazers to a 16th straight win

over the Timberwolves when they meet at the Target Center on Monday

night.

Portland (30-24) won its fourth straight Sunday, 105-100 over

Detroit, behind Aldridge’s 36 points – his lowest scoring total in

the last three games.

Aldridge had a career-best 42 points in last Monday’s 109-103

win over Chicago and 37 in Friday’s 102-96 victory over Toronto. He

has recorded four of his six highest-scoring games of the season in

the last two weeks.

Most of this offense has come since Aldridge was passed over as

a reserve for the Western Conference All-Star team, announced Feb.

3.

“I think he’s an All-Star,” Portland guard Wesley Matthews

said. “He’s an All-Star 10 times out of 10. He makes shots. That’s

what he does.”

The Timberwolves (13-41) would probably agree.

Aldridge, who leads the Blazers in scoring at 22.1 points, is

averaging 33.7 points on 62.1 percent shooting and 10.7 rebounds in

three games against Minnesota this season.

The Wolves might also make a case for Matthews to be an

All-Star, as well.

Matthews is averaging 26.7 points this season against Minnesota

– 10.4 better than his season average. He finished with 24 points

Sunday, and the Blazers, winners of 10 of 14, are 14-6 when he

scores at least 20.

Regardless of how many points Aldridge and Matthews score, the

Wolves have had no answer for Portland, losing 15 straight in the

series since a 94-93 home win March 25, 2007.

This is Minnesota’s second-longest active losing streak,

trailing only a 16-game skid to San Antonio.

The Wolves are coming off Saturday’s 107-87 loss to

Philadelphia, their second straight defeat following surprising

road wins over New Orleans and Houston. Minnesota, 4-16 since Jan.

3, shot just 36.4 percent against the 76ers, and Kevin Love had a

bit of an off night.

Love had 16 points and 13 rebounds for his 40th consecutive

double-double, but this came after he averaged 23.0 points and 15.3

boards in his previous three games. The first-time All-Star is

averaging 23.7 points and 17.7 rebounds against Portland this

year.

“For whatever reason, we weren’t there tonight,” coach Kurt

Rambis said. “A good chunk of our guys, at least half of our guys,

just weren’t there.”

The Wolves sorely missed Michael Beasley’s offense against

Philadelphia, but he is hoping to return to the lineup Monday after

sitting out the last three games with a sprained ankle. Beasley is

averaging 20.7 points against the Blazers this season.