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Portland's second-half skid hits three straight

03/03/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 3.0


    The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their third consecutive game Saturday, losing 122-110 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in front of 20,644 at the Rose Garden.

    "We’ve got to get connected and do the things that you need to do to win games. Defensively, we didn’t come out and commit to defending tonight. You give up a 40 point quarter in your building and we get smacked around before we start to realize that we’re in a ball game and then we play," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "We show that we have this capability, but we’ve got to get smacked upside the head before – you’ve got to come out with that."

    Portland (18-19) slipped to 10th in the Western Conference and fourth in the Northwest Division with the loss, and have gone 2-6 at home since starting the season 11-1.

    The Trail Blazers gave up 40 points to the Timberwolves in the first quarter to trail 40-28, then came roaring back in the second, taking the lead, 49-47, on a Nicolas Batum three-pointer that capped a 21-7 Portland run.

    One point separated the teams at halftime and two points after the third quarter with Minnesota leading 84-82. Another offensive explosion from the visiting team spelled the end of Portland's hopes in the game, as the Timberwolves cashed in 38 points in the final stanza, pulling away to post the final margin.

    "You can’t flip a switch. Tonight you give up 40 in the first, and you fight your way back and then they have a big fourth quarter, they finish strong," McMillan said. "Defensively, you’ve got to commit and we didn’t do that tonight."

    Batum led the Trail Blazers with 29 points on 9-of-17 shooting in the contest, 12 coming in the second quarter. Gerald Wallace had 10 points and four steal in the second quarter on his way to 25 points and 14 rebounds, the best rebounding performance of his Portland career to go along with his season-high four steals.

    Jamal Crawford added 23 points for Portland and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

    Minnesota (19-18) was led by Kevin Love, who poured in a game-high 42 points on 15-of-27 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range, while grabbing 10 rebounds.

    "We knew that he had improved and the one thing that we talked about – we needed to stay close to him and crowd him," McMillan said. "We knew that he had improved his game and extended it to the three point line. He had several open threes – I think he was 4 for 4 at the half. He just dominated this game."

    Former Trail Blazer Martell Webster followed Love with 21 points, eight rebounds and Ricky Rubio dished a game-high 12 assists to go along with six points, four rebounds and two steals.

    The Trail Blazers wrap up the current homestand hosting the New Orleans Hornets Monday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden, before heading out on a seven-game road trip. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast Channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

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