Randolph, Jack Lead Blazers Past Wolves
Portland 89, Minnesota 85
PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 3 (Ticker) -- Zach Randolph and rookie Jarrett Jack showed some poise down stretch for the gradually improving Portland Trail Blazers.
Randolph scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Jack added a season-high 19 points to lead the Trail Blazers to an 89-85 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"We're just playing much better basketball, plain and simple," said Randolph, who recorded his 18th double-double of the season. "Guys are sticking together, understanding each other and working as a team."
"It's really nice to get this win before we go on the road," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought our guys scrapped all 48 minutes. Jack played much bigger than his size. I think it was his best game of the season."
After Jack hit a jumper to put Portland on top, 77-69, with 7:58 to play, Minnesota went on a 12-1 run. Marcus Banks and Ricky Davis scored four points apiece during the burst, which gave the Timberwolves an 81-78 lead with 4:16 remaining.
However, Randolph took over offensively for the Trail Blazers with a three-point play and consecutive jumpers to move Portland back in front, 85-81, with 2:47 left.
"I just wanted to be the one taking the shots," Randolph said. "They were tough shots. I got some lift on them and hit them. It was just a good win for us. The rookie (Jack) was big tonight. He has a big part of this win."
"I got a couple of quick baskets and then just tried to maintain and stay aggressive," said Jack, who shot 8-of-10 from the floor. "There really wasn't no rhyme or reason to it or special way I went about it."
Trenton Hassell hit a 10-foot jumper for the Timberwolves with 2:03 to go before Jack made a driving finger roll with 1:05 left, giving Portland an 87-83 edge. Davis cut Minnesota's deficit to two by nailing a jumper with 30 seconds to play.
On Portland's next possession, Steve Blake missed a jumper, but Theo Ratliff grabbed an offensive rebound and passed to Blake in the right corner. Kevin Garnett let nearly four seconds run off the clock before fouling with three-tenths of a second left.
"I was just so locked in, thinking we had more time than there was," Garnett said. "I should have fouled earlier. I'm thinking that we had (Blake) trapped in the corner, but not thinking that he is waiting to be fouled. Stupid on my part."
"We should have fouled right away, but it shouldn't have come to this," Minnesota coach Dwayne Casey said. "Boxing out is something that we talk about and teach. That was huge, and I thought it was the play of the game."
Juan Dixon scored 14 points and Ruben Patterson added 12 for the Trail Blazers, who had a 46-35 rebounding advantage and a 45-23 edge in bench points.
"The thing we try to do when we come into the game is bring energy," Jack said. "That's the No. 1 thing we try to do, just be scrapping and try to pick up the tempo where the starters left off."
After Garnett missed his first shot, he made 12 in a row to set a franchise record for highest single-game percentage (92.3). However, he did not take a shot over the final six minutes of the game.
"I didn't know that I was 12-of-13," Garnett said. "I was calling for it and trying to be aggressive, but they start sagging off some of the guards, and our guards have to initiate to play basketball. I don't know. I got to find a way to go get the ball in the last four minutes."
Garnett had 27 points and 15 rebounds and Davis scored 17 for Minnesota, which has dropped six of eight.
"This team doesn't have the chemistry," Garnett said. "We're still soul searching. However you want to put it, this is a brand new team and it's not easy going on the road playing teams in their arena, where they are comfortable."