Wolves Drop Road Loss to Blazers
Blazers 113 (22-20) - Timberwolves 102 (10-32) | Rose Garden
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How it happened:
PORTLAND - Similar to Saturday’s home loss to Orlando, the Wolves displayed a strong offensive first half before suffering through a game-changing third quarter. Portland posted a season-high 38 points in the third period, gaining enough separation to notch a 113-102 victory over Minnesota on Monday night.
The Wolves only faced a five-point deficit with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter. Michael Beasley was forced to the bench after registering his fourth foul and the Blazers unleashed their attack. Over the next four minutes, Portland reeled off a 15-5 run and fed the hometown crowd with a LaMarcus Aldridge ally-oop and Rudy Fernandez 3-pointer to increase the Rip City momentum.
When Aldridge wasn’t flushing two-handed dunks, he worked the perimeter and scored a career-high 37 points in 41 minutes. On the opposite side, Kevin Love pushed through a frustrating first half and once again posted All-Star type of numbers. Love scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half along with snatching a game-high 17 rebounds. Remarkably, Love grabbed seven of his boards on the offensive glass.
“Whenever we get ourselves organized and playing unselfish basketball we can find ways to score, but we just have to do a much better job taking care of the basketball. We have better free throw shooters than we demonstrated here tonight. But those two areas – their points off of our turnovers and our missed free throws – is what sealed the fate for us in the ball game.” -- head coach Kurt Rambis
Leader of the Pack:
Darko Milicic was brilliant in tonight’s third meeting against the Blazers. Receiving deep post position, the Minnesota big man hit right and left-handed hook shots in the midst of a 22-point evening. His activity in the first quarter (10 points, three rebounds, three blocks) set the tone early and kept the Wolves competitive throughout the first half.
Love was challenged by the Portland frontline but managed to tally his 28th straight double-double. The third-year power forward owns the league lead with 37 double-doubles this season.
The Numbers Game:
Minnesota scored 64 of its 102 points in the paint but only shot 3-for-15 behind the arc while dropping to 10-32 on the season.
Highlight to Remember:
At the nine minute mark of the third quarter, Milicic showed his diverse skill set by quickly wrapping the ball around his back and seamlessly connecting on a left-handed layup in the lane. The bucket knocked Portland’s lead down to 55-52 while adding another highlight to Milicic’s big 22-point night.
Nikola Pekovic was solid off the bench with nine points on 3-for-3 shooting from the floor. The backup center played 10 minutes behind Milicic.
The Wolves quickly boarded a plane for a trip to Los Angeles following the Portland contest on Monday night. With a practice scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, Minnesota will gameplan for a red-hot Clippers squad and Love squares off against Blake Griffin in a matchup of double-double kings on Wednesday.
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