Blazer Fanatic

Feb 04

Blazers take care of business in ‘Sota, but not the ball

By Blazer Fanatic Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge, Timberwolves, WesleyMatthews
Dante Cunningham's final shot misses - AP Photos/Hanna Foslien

Portland pulled out the victory by the skin of their teeth, defeating Minnesota 100-98.

The Blazers led by 7 points after 1 quarter, and by 11 at the end of the half.  The trio of Lillard (9) Aldridge (14) Matthews (16) outscored Minnesota 39-38 in the half.  Aldridge alone had more rebounds (10) and more assists (4) than Minnesota’s starting five (9 and 3) at that point.  And Minnesota tied a season low in scoring for a half (38) as the teams headed to the locker room with the score 49-38.

In the 3rd quarter, with only 25 positions and 9 turnovers, somehow Portland managed to extend their lead by 8 more. They ended the quarter on a 20-4 run, up by 19 points.

Then came the NBA, where “4th quarter meltdowns” happen. The Timberwolves would go on to outscore Portland 40 to 23 in the 4th, and 24-9 in the final 6 minutes.  Ricky Rubio dished 10 dimes in that quarter alone, largely in part to Dante Cunningham’s 17 point quarter on 8-10 shooting.  Cunningham finished with a career high 23 points, and Rubio with a career tying 14 assists.

But Portland would close this game out with two big defensive stands.  Portland had doled out 7 blocks to Minnesota’s 2 by that point.  Up by 2 points with 21 seconds to play, Aldridge would not only add one more as he chased down Rubio who ran in a circled around the restricted area and put up a fade away jumper, but control the rebound.

Aldridge would then miss 2 consecutive free throws (1 for 5 on the game), giving Minnesota one last look with the ball at half court and 5 seconds to play.  As an 80 percent free throw shooter on the season, LaMarcus is shooting under 60 percent in clutch situations.  But he would again come up with some great defense and close out on Cunningham who nearly traveled to avoid another blocked shot, settling for a very awkward jump shot that missed badly.  The Blazers knew they got away with one they probably should have lost, but they would take it.

In a game that Portland never trailed, Wes (22), LaMarcus (25), and Damian (21) all scored over 20 points, and the Blazers shot a fantastic 58.6 percent from the floor.  In fact, only Will Barton shot under 50 percent for the game.  We weren't even sure Matthews would even play, but as usual, he came up big.  Portland's starting five outscored Minnesota's 43-18.  What should have been a blowout was another nail biter, as Portland goes 8-1 now in games decided by 2 points or less.  According to Elias, that is the most wins by any NBA team this season in such games, the next highest being 5 wins.  And it is a streak of 7 wins in a row.

Portland was outscored in the paint 46-24, and the turnovers… 

“We were loose with the ball most of the night, some of it was our defense, and some of that was on us,” Stotts said after the game.  Ending the night with 28 turnovers, the Blazers tied the NBA record for most turnovers in a game this season.  Six of those were offensive fouls.  Combined, they led to 33 (more than 1/3) of Minnesota’s points. “We need to clean that up,” Stotts followed.  That could very well be the understatement of the night.

It’s no secret to this Blazer team about what awaits them through the All-Star break.  “This is a make or break road trip,” said Aldridge.  The game versus Houston on Friday is the must win, although they all are at this point if the Blazers hope to make the playoffs.

The Blazers flew out of snow covered ‘Sota with a win, and didn’t look back.  They’ll have a day off in Dallas, and start their real test of playoff mettle on Wednesday versus the Mavs, Rockets on Friday, Magic on Sunday, and end on a back to back with the Heat and Hornets on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On to Dallas - with a huge smile on Aldridge’s face, “I’m ready baby.”

Fun facts
Portland has now won 20 of the last 22 meetings with Minnesota, and 3-0 on the season.  They will look to sweep the series with the Timberwolves March 2nd at the Rose Garden.

1989 versus Miami is the last time Portland turned the ball over 28 times and won.

In the 3 games played thus far versus Minnesota, Wesley Matthews is shooting 63 percent from the field (27-43), 68 percent from three (14-21), and 91 percent from the free throw line (10-11)

Aldridge continues his reign as the only player in the NBA averaging 20 points and 9 boards. His line for tonight: 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal.


  1. I haven't wrote a comment in a little bit sometimes I like to observe and take a step back and see what going on and it's pretty much the same old, same old on the threads anyway even though he missed those free throws my man L-Train keeps silencing those trade LA critics I just don't understand why you want to trade a guy that does what he does I understand that he has a possibility to walk as a free agent but, I just don't see LA as one of those Diva All stars I see a guy who wants to finish what he started even though going back to his hometown will be appealing I think we are going to make enough moves to convince him to stay.

    I also hope Batum sit out one of these games because he needs it and so far I've seen when one of the starters has gone down someone just seems to step up and it was get to see Wes back he truly deserves the name Iron man.

    Bring on the Mavs I know they are sick and tired of seeing L-Train because he keeps breaking their hearts.

    by CarlJ1 on 2/6/2013 1:35 AM
  2. The sad part about anti-LA bias is I think it makes as much sense that those people confuse LaMarcus Aldridge with Los Angeles.

    I hurt my wrist, had an MRI and X-ray, and they found nothing. Yet 6 months later they pulled tiny bone fragments out of my wrist. I think it is more than a simple sore wrist, but I'm just speculating. Batum won't even shoot an open 3. That is a huge liability on the court. I honestly think he should play through it if it feels better after the rest, but if it continues to feel like it did in Minn where he doesn't want to shoot, he needs to sit. It will never get better if he keeps straining it.

    I was shocked to see Wes play. He's a beast.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 2/6/2013 2:02 PM
  1. Leave a comment

The views expressed on the Trail Blazers Blogger Network represent those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of the Trail Blazers organization, the NBA, or any other NBA team.

Blog Contributors

Most Commented

The most commented posts in the past month

Blog Archives