Published on Mar 3, 2013
THE FACTS: Damian Lillard scored 24 points as the Portland Trail Blazers rolled past the injury-ravaged Minnesota Timberwolves 109-94 Saturday night for only their second win in 10 games.
J.J. Hickson collected 18 points and 16 rebounds as the Trail Blazers (27-31) completed a four-game season series sweep. Derrick Williams collected 23 points and eight rebounds for Minnesota (20-36), which has lost five in a row and 10 of its last 12 outings.
The Blazers got major contributions off the bench from rookies Meyers Leonard (12 points, eight rebounds) and Victor Claver (10 points), and from Eric Maynor (seven points and a career-high 12 assists).
QUOTABLE: "Tonight it started from [the first] jump ball. We didn't let up, except for a couple of possessions in the fourth quarter. Coach [Terry Stotts] called timeout, we regrouped and finished the job."
-- J.J. Hickson on Portland's wire-to-wire performance
THE STAT: Portland shot much better than Minnesota -- .487 to .391 from the field, including 7-for-20 from 3-point range to the Timberwolves' 1-for-12.
TURNING POINT: With Portland ahead 53-46 early in the third quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge keyed a 11-2 surge that produced a 64-48 lead. Minnesota never got the lead into single digits the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE II: "We're just so thin because of all the injuries. You go at it with the right attitude and keep busting your tail, eventually it's going to pay off. [The Timberwolves] competed the whole game, but [the Blazers] were just bigger and stronger. We need to get people back; we need some support."
-- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman
GOOD MOVE: Portland's Stotts used point guards Lillard and Maynor often together in the backcourt. It worked well against the Timberwolves, who have four true point guards who are consistently paired together.
BAD MOVE: Leonard was 6-for-7 from the field. His only miss came when he tried to dunk and missed, then hung on the rim as the ball bounced high in the air and through the hoop. The score was negated due to basket interference.
NOTABLE: The Timberwolves were without their entire starting front line ? Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love and Andrei Kirilenko ? due to injuries. ...Hickson notched his 32nd double-double of the season. ... Maynor's 12 assists are second-most by an NBA reserve this season, behind only San Antonio's Manu Ginobili (15). Maynor also tied Lillard and Nicolas Batum for a Portland game high this season. ... Minnesota's Ricky Rubio flirted with his first career triple-double, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. ... Minnesota's Brandon Roy received a rousing standing ovation from the Rose Garden crowd during the first timeout. Roy, who spent his first five NBA seasons in Portland, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Nov. 19 and has missed the last 50 games. He said before the game he hopes to return to practice soon and "be ready to play again in a week or two." ... The Blazers held a large advantage in rebounds (55-47), points in the paint (56-40) and assists (32-19).
QUOTABLE III: "It's fun to have somebody else who sees everything that's going on on the floor. Eric [Maynor] sees what I see. He's thinking what point guards think when they're bringing it up the floor. He's looking for guys in their spots. He probably should have had 15, 16 assists. He did a really good job of making plays for us."
-- Damian Lillard on Maynor
UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Monday vs. Miami, Wednesday vs. Washington, Saturday @ Denver. For the Trail Blazers, Monday vs. Charlotte, Wednesday @ Memphis, Friday @ San Antonio.
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