THE FACTS: After three quarters of generally poorly played basketball, the Portland Trail Blazers were leading by 19 and looked to have the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves well in hand. Minnesota, however, woke up and made a furious 14-2 run, only to fall short, losing 100-98.
The Wolves were utterly comatose in the first half. They tied a season low with 38 first-half points and Portland's starting five outscored Minnesota's 43-18. In fact, in the first half LaMarcus Aldridge had more rebounds (10) and assists (four) than Minnesota's starting five (nine and three, respectively). Dante Cunningham led Minnesota with 23 points off the bench and Ricky Rubio had his strongest game this season, statistically speaking, scoring 15 points and dishing out 14 assists.
Portland got a strong game from LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He made a big basket, giving the Blazers a three-point lead with 27.4 seconds left and could have iced the game with a pair of free throws with 6.7 seconds to play. He missed both, however, leaving the door open for the Wolves to tie the game with a two or win with a three. But Cunningham's last-second shot came up short, giving the Blazers the dubious honor of barely winning a game they should have won easily.
QUOTABLE: "Well, obviously, the fourth quarter did not go the way we wanted it to. They picked up their aggressiveness in the second half. We handled it in the third quarter, but we were loose with the ball most of the night. Some of that was their defense. Some of that was on us, but we led start to finish and it's good to get a win on the road."
-- Portland coach Terry Stotts
THE STAT: Portland shot 58.6 percent from the field, but cancelled their hot shooting out by committing a season-high 28 turnovers. Those turnovers led to more than one-third of Minnesota's points (33). Minensota was outrebounded 45-38, but dominated Portland in points-in-the-paint, 46-24.
TURNING POINT: Minnesota looked utterly lost for most of the first half. The point at which it first showed some heart came in the third quarter. After trailing by as many as 13, the Wolves made their first run and closed the Blazers' lead to three. Their second run came in the fourth quarter when they whittled down a 19-point Portland lead, twice getting within one point.
QUOTABLE II: "We cannot come out and play for 30 minutes in a 48-minute game. And we did that tonight. We had no energy at the start. I don't know if they thought that we found something in the last game (a victory over New Orleans), but we came out and pretty much let them do anything they wanted to do."
-- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman
NOTABLE: Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko left with 1:19 to play in the second quarter with a right quad strain. ... Portland is 3-0 against Minnesota this season and has won 20 of the last 22 contests against Minnesota.
UP NEXT: For the Wolves, Wednesday vs. San Antonio, Friday vs. New York, Sunday @ Memphis. For the Blazers, Wednesday @ Dallas, Friday @ Houston, Sunday @ Orlando.