Blazers take down Wolves with 2nd half rally
PORTLAND, Ore. — Guard Damian Lillard scored 32 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from an 18-point, second-quarter deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-97 Sunday night at the Moda Center.
Blazers forward Nicolas Batum collected 22 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Thomas Robinson came off the bench for 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Portland (38-18) won for the second consecutive game.
Center Kevin Love scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves (27-29), who saw a three-game winning streak end.
The Blazers shot superbly — 48.2 percent from the field, 46.4 percent from 3-point range and 93.8 percent from the foul line. The Wolves shot only 39.4 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent (9-for-28) on 3-point attempts.
Portland quickly erased an eight-point halftime deficit, a 3-pointer by Lillard tying the count at 71-71 with 5:49 left in the third quarter. A Batum jumper pushed the Blazers in front 82-80 with 1:50 to go in the third, and they took an 84-80 advantage into the final period.
The Blazers outscored Minnesota 16-6 through the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to jack their lead to 100-86. The Wolves never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Minnesota sank eight of its first nine shots from the field to jump to an 18-9 lead four minutes into the game. The Wolves increased the margin to 22-11 and settled for a 34-26 advantage after one quarter. Love had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting, while Lillard scored 13 for the Blazers in the period, sinking five of seven shots, including two of two from 3-point range.
The Timberwolves hiked their lead to 52-34 in the second quarter despite Love sitting out for more than six minutes. It was 60-44 when the Blazers began to climb back, scoring eight in a row to get within 60-52 at the half.
Love had 17 points and eight rebounds and guard J.J. Barea 15 points off the bench for Minnesota at the break, while Lillard had 17 points for Portland.
Barea finished with 21 points.
Notes: Both teams went into the game extremely short-handed in the post. Portland was without starting F LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) and backup centers Joel Freeland (knee) and Meyers Leonard (ankle). Minnesota was minus starting C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and reserve C Ronny Turiaf (knee) in addition to starting G Kevin Martin (thumb). Coach Rick Adelman said Martin might return either Tuesday at Phoenix or Saturday at Sacramento. ... Before Sunday, Minnesota F Kevin Love scored at least 30 points in four consecutive games and eight of 10. In Friday night’s 121-104 win at Utah, he posted the first triple-double of his career with 37 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. ... Portland coach Terry Stotts, asked if he is sticking to his pre-All-Star Game comment that the Trail Blazers have the best power forward in the game (Aldridge) and the Timberwolves the second-best: “Well, they have the best one tonight.”