The Timberwolves took control in the final quarter after three quarters of close, back-and-forth play between these two teams. The TWolves rode the hot hands of Kevin Love (13pts), Derrick Williams (9), & Martell Webster (8) in that fourth quarter to seal a 122-110 victory. They snapped a NASTY 16-game losing streak to the Portland Trailblazers, they moved ahead of the Blazers in the Western Conference, got back to .500 and dropped the Blazers to under .500 for the first time all season!
Thanks to a huge night from Kevin Love the Timberwolves were able to finally break, not only a 16-game losing streak, but also snapped a 7-year losing streak (11 games) in Portland (last time the Wolves won at the Rose Garden: December 7, 2005).
Minnesota is back at .500 on the season (19-19) and they're once again .500 on the road (9-9), which of course means they're also .500 at home (10-10).
The Wolves jumped out to an early 40-28 after one quarter. Those 40 points in the first quarter is a new season-high for a first quarter. The Blazers battled back in the second quarter to cut the lead to just 1-point lead at the half: 61-60. Another close third quarter saw Minnesota up just two points heading into the final quarter: 84-82. Which lead me to think...which TWolves fourth quarter are we going to see in this final quarter? Apparently it was the one that outscored the opponent by 10pts (38-28) led by Love, Web & D-Will, the Wolves scored a new season-high in team points (previous was 120 vs. Houston on 1/30).
The Wolves obviously didn't play the greatest defense as the 110 points is the second-most by a TWolves opponent this season (high is 111 vs. Chicago on 1/10).
Let's take a look at some of tonight's key players for each team...
The Timberwolves got a great night from Kevin Love. He scored a season-high 42pts and was just one-point away from tying his career-high, that he set last season in Denver (43pts). There was plenty of talk before the game of how much Love has struggled playing in Portland in his NBA career, but he put those rumors to bed as he dumped in 42pts against a Blazers defense that just COULD NOT stop him! I think we can safely say that he also dismissed rumors that Aldridge is a superior power forward, as well! Webster scored a season-high 21pts (his previous season-high was 14 vs. the Lakers last week) (Martell's career-high is 28pts, which he's had twice in his career). Clearly Webster looked comfortable in his old surroundings (he spent his first 5 years in Portland after being selected 6th in the 2005 NBA Draft). Ricky had a solid night, he didn't shoot well...at all, but his 12ast certainly helped the team (10 of those came in the first half, which ties a franchise record record for most assists in a half--also held by Pooh Richardson [3/13/92] & Stephon Marbury, twice [12/20/97 & 4/18/97]).
When you compare the starters' stats between these two teams, the Blazers obviously held the advantage (MIN: 74, POR: 91). A big part of that was obviously Batum, Wallace & Crawford! Those 91pts actually came from just four players--Camby didn't score. Wallace definitely had the best all-around game for Portland. He scored, defended, grabbed rebounds and played a game-high 44 minutes. After LA fouled-out in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and Wallace, then had to defend Love (who only scored 1pt [on a free-throw] after that).
Let's look at a comparison of each team's statistics from tonight's game...
Minnesota's 54% is one of their best outputs of the season and their 52% from three-point land was the second-highest percentage of the season (the high being 58% vs. San Antonio on 1/2). This was also the Wolves' third win this season, when they've been out-rebounded in a game. Those high percentages made up for the 14 turnovers that Portland scored 19pts off of, being outscored on the break and being out-rebounded (they can't count on scoring 120+ points a game though, it was a good game, but certainly A LOT of negatives, as well.
That's all for now, sorry I didn't get this put up last night, just was not feeling well at all, though I did watch the game. The Wolves' next game is vs. the Clippers on Monday night at the Target Center, followed by a rematch of this one Wednesday night (also at the Target Center) vs. Portland.
As always, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!