7 P.M. VS. Portland • TARGET CENTER • FSN, 830-AM
Preview: The Wolves are 2-0 to start the season for just the sixth time in franchise history, and it’s the first time that’s happened with both victories on the road. Now they’re finally at Target Center, where they have won 17 of their past 20 home openers. This is a far different Portland team than the one that won 51 games and finished fourth in the Western Conference last season. Four of five starters are gone. Top scorers LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum have gone elsewhere and the Blazers are starting over, building around stellar guard Damian Lillard.
Players to watch: Wolves F Karl-Anthony Towns became the youngest player in league history to have double-doubles in his first two games. He had 28 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in Denver on Friday. He is fourth in rebounding (13.0) and leads all rookies in scoring (21.0). Point guard Ricky Rubio leads the league in assists (11.0 per game) and has scored in double figures in both games; his 28 points in the opener in L.A. set a career high. G Kevin Martin is averaging 18.5 points off the bench. Lillard is averaging 22.7 points and 8.3 assists for Portland. Guard C.J. McCollum also is averaging 22.7 points, and forward Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging 13.7.
Numbers: The Wolves are tied for third in the league in defensive efficiency and are ninth in offensive efficiency, according to John Hollinger’s stats. The Wolves are sixth in the league in points per game differential (plus-9) and first in the league in opponents’ field goal percentage (34.0). Denver’s 30.5 percent Friday was the third-best defensive percentage in a road game in franchise history.
Injuries: Wolves C Nikola Pekovic (right Achilles’ surgery) is out. After battling a sore back Friday, F Andrew Wiggins is not on the Wolves injury report. For Portland, neither G Gerald Henderson (hip) nor F Cliff Alexander (left knee) have played this season.