Originally written November 25, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Huge night for the rookie The Headline: Damian Lillard scores a season high 28 points in this big Portland win. Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Portland Trail Blazers When: 10:00 ET, Friday, November 23, 2012 Where: Rose Garden (Portland) Officials: Joe Crawford, Tre Maddox, Derrick Collins Attendance: 20,555 Love ‘em 1. Lillard leads the way Damian Lillard had the best night of his young career, leading the Blazers in this win. Portland’s prized rookie had 28 points on 11-17 shooting, while going 4-8 from beyond the arc. Lillard also had eight assists, with zero turnovers. Outside of being a scoring machine, Lillard was really good with his distribution. The zero turnovers was a huge improvement for Lillard, whose had issues with coughing the ball up. 2. Hickson strong in return After missing Portland’s last game with a should injury, J.J. Hickson returned in this one. Despite facing a physical Minnesota team, Hickson had a strong performance. Despite Kevin Love’s dominance, Portland still comes away with the win. (Photo: Bruce Ely / Oregonian) He finished with a double-double, posing 14 points and 13 rebounds. Hickson also had four assists, a steal and two blocks. 3. Turnovers looking better Ball protection has been an issue for Portland, but they looked much improved against one of the better defenses in the West. Portland had just 12 turnovers in this one, and Minnesota had only 10 steals. Lillard was a big help, having zero tunrovers; but, the bench also limited their damage with two total. Hate ‘em 1. Kevin Love Kevin Love loves to face Portland. In 13 games against Portland, Love is averaging 17.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. In his last four contests against the Blazers, he’s averaging over 30 points a game. This night was no different, with Love posting his usual double-double. The Oregon native finished his night with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Love had no problems on defense, with the T-Wolves outscoring Portland 40-34 in the paint. Are the Blazers ever going to find a way to control Love? 2. L.A. and Batum quiet The two biggest storyline players were very quiet for Portland in this game. LaMarcus Alrdidge obviously lost the battle with rival Kevin Love tonight. L.A. had just 13 points and six rebounds, while accumulating six fouls. Nicolas Batum—who made waves over the summer by almost being signed to Minneota—had a rough night. He had just nine points on 3-10 shooting (1-7 on threes) with four turnovers. With two of their biggest players going silent, Portland was lucky the other guys stepped it up and won this game. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT OUR TRAIL BLAZERS BLOG AT THE NWSB!
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