Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/24/12
PORTLAND -- Guards Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard were too much for Minnesota on Friday night, combining for 58 points in Portland's 103-95 victory at the Rose Garden. Matthews scored a season-high 30 points and Lillard added 28 for the Trail Blazers (6-6), who begin a seven-game road trip Sunday at Brooklyn. Kevin Love had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves (5-6), who lost their fourth straight game. But it was at the defensive end that coach Terry Stotts saw progress. "I saw an intensity in our guys' faces about how important (defense) was," he said. "I've seen it in spots this season, but the second half, we sustained it for a long period of time." Portland entered the game last in the NBA in opponents' scoring (102.9) and field-goal percentage (.501). Minnesota shot .410 for the game to the Blazers' .538. Over the final three quarters, the Timberwolves scored 62 points and shot 20-for-57 (.351). "We've been embarrassed," Matthews said, "with teams shooting 50 percent on us and the (124-87) thumping we took in Phoenix (Wednesday night). "(The Suns) are all right. They have some players, but we don't feel like we should ever lose like that to everybody." Stotts demanded defensive performance at Friday's shootaround. "We're all professionals," Matthews said. "We've played basketball for a long time. It still takes calling out. That's what coach (Stotts) did, and everybody responded." Minnesota shot 13-for-21 in rolling to a 33-28 lead after one quarter. The Timberwolves extended the margin to 41-28 before Portland began to close the gap, getting to within 55-50 at the half. Despite All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge drawing his fifth foul with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter and departing, the Blazers were able to take the lead at 71-69 on Lillard's 3-point shot with 3:30 left in the period. Lillard hit another 3-pointer to bring Portland even at 78-78, and Nicolas Batum buried another 3-pointer from beyond the arc just before the buzzer sounded to give the Blazers an 81-78 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Portland scored the first seven points of the quarter to hike its lead to 88-78 with nine minutes to play, and when Matthews drilled a 3 from the corner, the Blazers were on top 95-84 with 6:16 left. Love's three free throws brought Minnesota to within 97-91 with 3:30 remaining, but Matthews drained a turnaround 20-footer to signal it was the Blazers' night, not the Timberwolves'. "We just didn't defend well enough," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. The Blazers "shot the heck out of the ball, and we didn't finish plays at the basket." NOTES: The Timberwolves lost despite a huge edge at the foul line -- 28-for-37 to the Blazers' 8 for 18. ... Minnesota coach Rick Adelman on Lillard: "He's probably the best rookie in the league right now." ... J.J. Hickson returned to Portland's starting lineup at center after missing Wednesday's 114-87 loss at Phoenix with a shoulder injury. Hickson contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. ... Portland rookie forward Victor Claver (elbow) did not dress. ... Minnesota's Ricky Rubio, who missed the second half of last season following knee surgery, worked out hard before Friday night's game with no problems. The Timberwolves are hopeful the second-year point guard will return to action in a few weeks. "He's doing good," coach Rick Adelman said. "He's been able to go through all the (noncontact) drills. He has to see the doctor one more time, and maybe after this trip we can get him on the practice floor. It's just going to take him some time to get his conditioning and timing down."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants to play McCutchen in right, still pursuing CFs

Aly Raisman blasts USA Gymnastics: ‘I don’t think they care’ about sexual abuse allegations

PETA rips horse-punching Eagles fan, calls for lifetime ban

Mavs, Lakers to pursue Cousins in free agency?

Report: Ariza tried to go after Griffin, restrained by teammates

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Harrison wants trade if Pirates are not committed to winning

Report: DeAndre Jordan wants to be traded to Rockets

Source: Lakers ‘frustrated’ Lonzo Ball won’t stand up to his father

Report: Steelers owner facing pressure to fire Mike Tomlin

AJ McCarron thinks he would've succeeded with Browns

Report: Cavs players starting to doubt team issues will be fixed

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

Greatest NFL Conference Championship moments ever

Eight gutsy NBA trade deadline deals that would turn the tide

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Grading the deal: Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen to Giants

The NBA's deep middle class emerges

Is Mike Moustakas that much better than Travis Shaw?

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Greatest NFL Conference Championship moments ever

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

The 'Home field disadvantage' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bruins, Flames, Jets are taking flight

Sabres look to be biggest sellers ahead of NHL trade deadline

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker