Despite there only being one week left in the regular season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are still fighting for two seemingly contradictory things in the Western Conference – a spot in the play-in tournament and a spot in the playoffs and the avoidance of the play-in tournament altogether. The Portland Trail Blazers helped them move in the wrong direction Sunday afternoon.
The Blazers – with one starter left standing in the lineup that will play out the rest of the year – went into Minnesota and beat the Wolves 107-105. That lone remaining starter is Matisse Thybulle, who scored 2 points in Portland’s win.
Considering where the two teams are in the standings and the directions in which they’re trying to go, losing to Portland at home is embarrassing enough for Minnesota.
As it turns out, though, it’s actually historically embarrassing.
The Trail Blazers handed the Timberwolves an all-time humiliating loss
Because of where the two teams find each other at this point in the season, the T-Wolves were 19.5-point favorites to beat Portland at home.
They did not. Which is an all-time bad look.
Minnesota is a healthy team with an intact rotation and a reason to claw out a win every time it takes the floor. The Wolves started their regular five:
- Mike Conley Jr.
- Anthony Edwards
- Jaden McDaniels
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Rudy Gobert
Portland’s starting lineup looked like this:
- Skyler Mays
- Shaedon Sharpe
- Matisse Thybulle
- Trendon Watford
- Drew Eubanks
It was Mays’ seventh career start; he played 30 minutes. Shaq Harrison had played in three NBA games over the past two seasons before he came off the bench for the Blazers on Sunday; he played 18 minutes.
Jeenathan Williams played his first NBA game ever and saw 13 minutes of action. Kevin Knox II played 29 minutes, Jabari Walker played 19, and John Butler Jr. played 18.
Pretty evident why Minnesota was such a heavy favorite.
Yet the Blazers found a way to win. Which, as Portland is in a fight with the Orlando Magic for the fifth-best lottery odds in this summer’s draft, is realistically a bad thing.
Perhaps embarrassing another NBA franchise like they did Sunday takes the sting out of winning, though – at least a little.