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Timberwolves fall to Trail Blazers after squandering 17-point lead

MINNEAPOLIS -- Damian Lillard scored a team-high 19 points and C.J. McCollum chipped in 17 for Portland as the Trail Blazers came back from 17 points down to top Minnesota 109-103 on Saturday at Target Center.

MINNEAPOLIS - Damian Lillard scored a team-high 19 points and C.J. McCollum chipped in 17 for Portland as the Trail Blazers came back from 17 points down to top Minnesota 109-103 on Saturday at Target Center.

It’s the second time this season Portland overcame a 17-point deficit against Minnesota. The Trail Blazers did the same thing back on Nov. 2 when the Timberwolves jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter. Portland eventually won that game 106-101.

Blazers center Meyers Leonard added 14 points off the bench, including a big fourth-quarter 3-pointer that put Portland up 93-90 after Minnesota cut the lead to one. Six different Blazers scored in double figures.

Timberwolves rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 27 points and 12 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season. Second-year guard Andrew Wiggins added 17 points but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Lillard and McCollum were held in check in the first half. Minnesota limited Lillard to just four points by halftime, while McCollum had only three points on 1-of-5 shooting. But both guards heated up as the game went on to help the Blazers erase Minnesota’s big lead.

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The Timberwolves took a 17-point lead early in the third quarter when Kevin Garnett hit a long jumper on an assist from Ricky Rubio. But Portland clawed its way back throughout the quarter, eventually tying it at 75 on a layup by Lillard.

The Trail Blazers (9-12) finally regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on a pair of Gerald Henderson free throws to make it an 84-82 game.

Minnesota (8-11) had a chance to take the lead in the final minute after its defense forced a shot-clock violation on Portland. But Towns couldn’t connect on a 3-point attempt and the Blazers were able to grab the rebound with 37.3 seconds remaining.

With a second-half basket, Garnett became the 15th player in NBA history to reach the 26,000-point mark. He finished the game with five points and a pair of rebounds in 16 minutes.

Portland continues its four-game road trip Monday at Milwaukee. The Timberwolves will try to rebound from Saturday’s loss when they host the Clippers on Monday.

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