Butler's Absence Opens Door for Wolves-Blazers Scoring Frenzy

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, March 1, 2018 3:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 3:27 PM UTC

Minnesota will be without star defender Jimmy Butler for tonight's meeting with Portland. That bodes well for fans of high-scoring games -- and for your NBA picks.

Thursday NBA: Timberwolves vs. Trail BlazersFree NBA Pick: Over 218Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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With Jimmy Butler sidelined by a knee injury in the first game after the All-Star break, Minnesota gave up 120 points to the Rockets. The Timberwolves have clamped down on defense since then, but they did it against two of the NBA's worst teams.

Tonight, without their best wing defender, they are playing a playoff team.

Butler’s absence makes this Wolves defense collapse. According to Basketball Reference, with Butler on the court this season, Minnesota's defensive rating is 108.1. With Butler out, the Wolves are giving up 116.9 points per 100 possessions.

Even though the Trail Blazers try to slow the pace as much as possible, they could also have a field day at home against the Wolves. In the eight games Butler has missed this season, Minnesota is giving up 116.5 points per game.

The first three matchups between these teams went "over" the posted total on the NBA odds board. Considering the final score for one of the meetings Butler missed was 123-114 in favor of Portland, I see a similar final score tonight, so select the "over" with your NBA picks.

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