Beasley returns and Johnson is benched in another loss to Portland
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Michael Beasley returned from an ankle sprain for the Minnesota Timberwolves in Monday night's 113-102 loss to the Portland Trailblazers.
Beasley had 12 points in the loss, the seventh loss in the past eight games for the struggling Wolves. Beasley once again got into foul trouble early and finished with as many fouls -- four -- as field goals in 26 minutes.
The fourth-overall pick in 2010 never got off the bench for the first time in his career. Johnson's previous career low minute total was 15:26.
It has been an up-and-down season so far Johnson but getting benched for Corey Brewer and now losing minutes off the pine to Ellington -- who has averaged just 16 minutes per game -- has to be considered a low point.
Ellington showed some of the spark that has been missing while Johnson has struggled with seven points but shot just 3-of-9.
Jonny Flynn once again showed no promise of becoming a solid NBA point guard with two points in 15 minutes.
So, in total, David Kahn's three top 10 draft picks from the past two seasons -- Johnson (fourth overall 2010), Flynn (fifth overall 2009) and Ricky Rubio (sixth overall 2009) -- combined for two points in 15 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge continued his assault on the Wolves this season with a career high 37 points on 15-of-24 shooting. Aldridge had 28 and 36 points in two previous games against the Wolves this season.
Kevin Love struggled against the Blazers but padded his stats late to finish with a deceiving 22 points and 17 rebounds after having just four points and five rebounds at the half. It was Love's 28th consecutive double-double, nine shy of the franchise record of 37 straight by Kevin Garnett.
Despite Love's numbers, his All-Star campaign may have taken a hit with the Los Angeles Clippers rookie phenom Blake Griffin went off for 47 points and 14 rebounds Monday against Indiana. Love and Griffin will go head-to-head at Staples Center Wednesday night.
Brewer made it to the game in time after making a pit stop in Tennessee for personal reasons. Brewer said on his Twitter account that the visit was to see his father. Brewer was in the starting lineup for the fifth-consecutive game and finished with 10 points, three rebounds, a block, an assist and a steal.
Darko Milicic was the best team on the court for a Wolves team that appeared to be going through the motions in a second-half where they trailed by double-digits most of the way. Darko had 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 34 minutes.
The Wolves continue to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers, giving the ball up 16 times that resulted in 19 points for the Blazers.
The Wolves play the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday before having a much needed four-day break. All five starters for the Wolves are playing an increased role from what they have previously had in the NBA and there is no doubt the wear-and-tear is starting to take its toll at the season's midway point.