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  • 18 Sep 2014

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Too little, too late for Blazers

Pekovic, Love lead Timberwolves to near wire-to-wire victory


MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 120, Portland Trail Blazers 109

Wednesday night, Target Center, 13,776 announced attendance

HIGHLIGHTS

• Not many for Portland, for one of the few times this season.

The Blazers appeared to run out of gas at the end of the road, and it cost them the final game of an otherwise perfect four-game trip.

Their five-game winning streak came to an end, although the Blazers got enough second wind to pull within 114-109 with 46 seconds left on a 16-3 run, after trailing by as many as 32 points.

WHAT IT MEANS

• Portland has the second-best record in the NBA.

Oklahoma City and the Blazers are tied in the Western Conference, but the Thunder's winning percentage is better (20-4, .833 to Portland's .815).

Indiana lost down the stretch at Miami 97-94 on Wednesday but still leads the Eastern Conference at 20-5. Miami is 19-6.

In the West, San Antonio is 19-5 after a 108-101 win at Phoenix on Wednesday.

TOP PERFORMERS

• Damian Lillard hit 7 of 14 shots from 3-point range and totaled a game-high 36 points in 41 minutes.

• LaMarcus Aldridge posted his 16th double-double, getting 15 points and 14 rebounds in 42 minutes. He was 7 of 22 from the floor.

• Nicolas Batum added 20 points, and Wesley Matthews had 16.

• For Minnesota, the combination of center Nikola Pekovic and power forward Kevin Love was too much for a Blazers team playing its fourth road game in five nights.

Pekovic finished with 30 points and nine rebounds, and former Lake Oswego High star Love had 29 points with game highs of 15 rebounds and nine assists.

Pekovic was 14 of 19 from the field, while Love was 10 of 18.

KEY STATS

• The Timberwolves won the paint scoring battle 72-34.

• Minnesota shot 49.5 percent from the field. Portland hit 42.6 percent.

• Blazers center Robin Lopez did not attempt a shot from the field, He had two points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.

• Portland has scored more than 100 points in 14 consecutive games.

QUOTES

* "They had everything going (in the first half). We gave up too much and dug too deep of a hole. I'm pleased with the way we competed in the second half."

— Terry Stotts, Blazers coach

"I don't think anybody in our locker room wants to use that as an excuse. We had a lot of energy in the second half."

— Stotts, on the fatigue factor

NOTES

• The Blazers' largest leads were 2-0 and 4-2.

• Minnesota led 31-22 after one quarter, 69-43 at the half and 98-78 through three quarters.

• Portland made a couple of runs in the second half, but the Timberwolves answered and then simply had too much cushion with the Blazers lacking enough time and energy.

• The Timberwolves improved to 13-13.

NEXT

• The Blazers will be back at Moda Center for a 7 p.m. Saturday game against New Orleans (KGW 8).