Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Tuesday, December 14th
Trail Blazers89Final
Game 2: Saturday, January 15th
Trail Blazers84Final
Game 3: Saturday, January 22nd
Trail Blazers83
Game 4: Sunday, February 27th
Trail Blazers83

Trail Blazers 89

(10-10, 3-7 away)

Timberwolves 100

(14-7, 6-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 14, 2004

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 23 19 26 2189
    MIN 23 22 25 30100

    Top Performers

    Por: S. Abdur-Rahim 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Min: S. Cassell 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 13 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Szczerbiak eclipses 5,000-point mark

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Wally Szczerbiak's best game of the season was special for another reason.

    Szczerbiak scored a season-high 28 points, including the 5,000th of his career, to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 100-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

    "I've been here six years and have made a home here, so I am really happy about accomplishing things like that," Szczerbiak said. "But, it's in the past now and I have to strive for new milestones.

    "It's great, but I have to keep trying to improve and help this team win a championship."

    Kevin Garnett, the Wolves' all-time leading scorer, had 19 points and 19 rebounds for Minnesota, which won for the eighth time in 10 games. Sam Cassell had 19 points and 13 assists in coach Flip Saunders' 400th career victory.

    "It's a great feeling to see your teammates do well," Garnett said of Szczerbiak. "I was looking for him, I knew he was in a rhythm."

    Zach Randolph had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Portland, which lost for the fourth time in six games. Darius Miles had 17 points in a reserve role as the Trail Blazers lost the first game on a six-game, nine-day road trip -- their longest of the season. Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 15 points.

    "Their guards won the game," Randolph said. "They made a lot of big shots."

    Szczerbiak keyed a run at the start of the fourth quarter with four quick points to give Minnesota an 87-79 lead with 6:17 left. The Trail Blazers got within 89-85, but Cassell scored four and Szczerbiak had a three-point play to give Minnesota its largest lead at 96-85 with 3:31 remaining.

    Portland could not get closer than nine points thereafter.

    "I just got into a flow and a rhythm," said Szczerbiak, who had his highest point total since scoring a career-high 44 on April 13 against Chicago.

    Portland scored nine straight points to open the second quarter and take its biggest lead at 32-23 with 8:52 left.

    Minnesota countered by outscoring the Blazers 22-10 over the remainder of the half to take a 45-42 lead into the break. Eddie Griffin, who finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, sparked the rally with six points and two blocks.

    Portland opened the third with another run -- this time 7-0 -- to take a 49-45 lead.

    After scoring just five points in the first half, Garnett had eight in the third quarter as the Wolves built a 70-65 lead. Nick Van Exel, who missed the last three games with a sore right hip, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 70-68 entering the fourth.

    Szczerbiak hit a running jump shot with 6:25 left in the second quarter to reach 5,000 points in his career. He joins Garnett, Sam Mitchell and Doug West as the only Wolves to score at least 5,000 career points.

    Blazers shot just 5-of-15 from the foul line, with Miles shooting 3-of-10.

    "If I hit my free throws we probably win the game," Miles said.

    Game notes

    Minnesota outrebounded Portland 51-39. ... Entering the game, Portland ranked third in the NBA in points allowed with 90.7 points per game and 25th in points scored at 90.7.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 100
    FGM-FGA 39-88 (.443) 45-90 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 4-14 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 5-15 (.333) 6-7 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-39 17-51
    Assists 29 29
    Turnovers 12 17
    Steals 12 6
    Blocks 7 7
    Fast Break Points 19 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 11 (0/0) 14 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 9 11

    Top Performers

    Shareef Abdur-Rahim Abdur-Rahim
    Points: 15
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3
    Sam Cassell Cassell
    Points: 19
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 13
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1