Patterson Provides Boost for Trail Blazers
Portland 91, Minnesota 83
MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 23 (Ticker) -- Ruben Patterson didn't start, but he sure did finish.
Patterson scored a season-high 23 points off the bench as the Portland Trail Blazers ended a six-game road losing streak with a 91-83 victory over the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.
Portland trailed, 72-70, until Patterson completed an alley-oop pass from rookie Jarrett Jack to tie the score with 9:19 to go. After blocking Troy Hudson's layup, Patterson drove the length of the floor for a layup that gave the Blazers the lead for good.
"We just attacked," Patterson said. "We knew they had slow feet and that's why they played zone all time because they can't guard us. We basically said to attack their feet, and every time we did, we made something happen."
"Ruben Patterson was the X factor tonight," Minnesota superstar Kevin Garnett said. "He kept a lot of balls alive, came with a lot of energy. So when they needed a big play, he came up with it. He was just relentless tonight."
Zach Randolph added 21 points and 10 boards for Portland, which dominated in paint points, 42-18. Juan Dixon chipped in 12 points.
"They became a lot more aggressive, got a lot of calls in their favor in the last part of the third and the upper part of the fourth that we never recovered from," Garnett said. "We tried to turn up the aggressiveness, but they got in the bonus real early and just kept taking the ball to the basket and we couldn't get any loose balls."
The Blazers had lost five of six and 11 of 13 overall. They had lost their last three visits to Minnesota, including this season's opener.
Wally Szczerbiak scored 26 points and Garnett added 24, eight rebounds and six assists for Minnesota, which has lost five of six. Marko Jaric and Trenton Hassell added 12 points apiece.
Szczerbiak scored 14 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining that gave Minnesota a 49-48 lead.
Portland opened the third quarter with offensive fouls by Randolph and center Joel Przybilla attempting to post up Garnett. With one technical foul already, Blazers coach Nate McMillan was ejected with 10:41 left in the third quarter for arguing the calls.
"In the last couple of games, we've talked about playing through that (officiating woes)," McMillan said. "We assume that we're not going to get calls. I did sense my guys getting frustrated with that, and while we don't want to be known as whiners, you have to stand up for the guys."
"It really got me motivated when (the refs) kicked Nate out of the game," Patterson said. "We felt like we were getting cheated. Now the refs were good to me in the second half, but it got us loose and playing together and we played well. It was a great win. Everybody stepped up."