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Trail Blazers open homestand with win over Timberwolves

  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 4.0

    The Portland Trail Blazers opened up their current three-game homestand by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night, 119-106, in front of 20,359 at the Rose Garden.

    The teams battled to a 27-27 draw in the first quarter, then the Trail Blazers turned on the offense, scoring 30 points in the second quarter while holding Minnesota to 23 points on 33.3 percent shooting to lead 57-50 at the half.

    “I thought, and we thought as a coaching staff, that we played 48 minutes of Blazer basketball on both ends tonight,” said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. “We’re sharing the basketball…Just fun basketball tonight.”

    Portland (25-28) pushed the lead to 11 points on Nicolas Batum’s four-point play with four minutes left in the third quarter, and to 13 points on LaMarcus Aldridge’s dunk the next time down the court.

    Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 26 points and eight rebounds, followed by Batum with 24 points, five boards and two blocks.

    Minnesota (25-29) had no answer for the Portland offense, as the Trail Blazers matched their third-quarter offensive production with 31 points in the fourth period, inflating the lead to as many as 16 points before settling for the final margin.

    With 30 points in the second and 31 points in each of the third and fourth quarters, the Trail Blazers scored more than 30 points in three consecutive quarters for the first time this season.

    Raymond Felton led Portland with a game high 11 assists, (the 16th consecutive appearance and overall 39th time he has led the team in assists this season), and notched a double-double with 10 points while flirting with a triple-double by pulling down eight rebounds. Jonny Flynn backed up Felton at the point guard position and tallied a season-high seven assists.

    “We played a good game. We played sound defense, we controlled the rebounds,” Batum said. “And then on offense, Ray and Jonny did a great job…when your two point guards get 20 assists almost, that’s pretty good.”

    In all, six Trail Blazers scored in double figures in the contest, including Wesley Matthews with 18 points, JJ Hickson with 15 points to go along with nine rebounds and Jamal Crawford with 12 points. Portland logged 22 assists against 10 turnovers while outrebounding Minnesota 44-36.

    “That’s the beauty about our team, we have balance,” Hickson said. “Everybody plays their part night in, night out, on any given night anyone can go off for 20 plus or 10 or more rebounds. So we just have a balanced attack.”

    Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 26 points but was limited to nine rebounds by the Trail Blazers, ending his streak of 10 consecutive double-doubles.

    Luke Ridnour and Derrick Williams were next for Minnesota with 21 points each, Ridnour adding six assists while Williams pulled down six rebounds.

    Portland completes the home back-to-back against the Utah Jazz Monday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden. 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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