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Trail Blazers open road trip with loss at Minnesota

  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their second consecutive game to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-94, to open their seven-game road trip at the Target Center.

    "It's a tough way to start a road trip, no doubt about it," said Portland guard Jamal Crawford. "I think that this is a trip that can either catapult us or push us further down, so this trip is really important, probably the most important trip of the year."

    Portland (19-20) started well, leading by as many as six points in the first quarter behind the crisp play of point guard Raymond Felton, who scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting to go along with five assists in the period.

    Felton finished with a team-high 23 points on 11-of-18 shooting while dishing nine assists in the contest.

    The Timberwolves came back to take the lead, 28-26, with less than two minutes in the opening quarter, then Minnesota forward Kevin Love poured in three consecutive three-pointers to close the period and help the home team to a 37-31 lead headed into the second.

    Love tallied 15 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 29 points and 16 rebounds.

    "It's a tough guard when you have a guy like that who can shoot it," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "He can do a lot of things: pass it, rebound it, or shoot threes, so that's a tough guard."

    The Trail Blazers tied the game 49-49 on LaMarcus Aldridge's low-post conversion with five minutes left in the half, then took a 50-49 lead moments later when he finished the three point play at the free throw line.

    A 20-foot jumper from Michael Beasley put Minnesota back on top soon after and the Timberwolves pushed the lead to seven points, 61-54, at the break.

    The Timberwolves never trailed again, pushing the lead to as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter, then withstanding a Trail Blazers run to within five points early in the final stanza before extending for the final margin.

    "We're searching but we don't know what we're searching for," said Portland forward Gerald Wallace. "I don't know what to say."

    Aldridge finished with 22 points and seven rebounds while Wallace nearly notched a triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Wesley Matthews led the Trail Blazers reserves with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench.

    Minnesota (21-19) got 22 points, five assists and four rebounds from guard Luke Ridnour while Wesley Johnson added 19 points on 8-of-11 from the field. Martell Webster added 10 points and rookie Derrick Williams was good for nine points, 11 rebounds off the Timberwolves bench.

    Next, Portland travels to Boston to take on the Celtics Friday, 4:30 p.m. 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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