Regular Season Series (Game 2 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
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Game 4: Sunday, February 27th
Trail Blazers83

Trail Blazers 84

(15-21, 7-15 away)

Timberwolves 92

(19-17, 10-7 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 15, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 25 19 19 2184
    MIN 20 24 23 2592

    Top Performers

    Por: R. Patterson 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Min: L. Sprewell 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Portland playing without Miles, Abdur-Rahim

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Since moving back to his old spot in the lineup, Latrell Sprewell has looked more like the offensive threat Minnesota expected him to be.

    Sprewell scored 25 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, leading the Timberwolves to a 92-84 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

    It was the second straight impressive game for Sprewell, who moved to small forward and scored 29 points at Denver on Friday. Against Portland, he hit big shots down the stretch to give Minnesota just its second victory in its last six at Target Center.

    "The last couple of nights I've shot the ball well," Sprewell said. "I don't know if that's the lineup change or not."

    Sprewell, who averaged 17 points per game last year, has struggled and seen his scoring average drop to 12 this season. The position switch was part of a collection of lineup changes by Wolves coach Flip Saunders to get more offense off the bench.

    Wally Szczerbiak moved to the second team, and defensive specialist Trenton Hassell became the starting shooting guard.

    If Sprewell can keep it going, it will help take pressure off Kevin Garnett. The Wolves won despite Garnett not leading the team in one of the major offensive categories -- points, rebounds or assists -- for the first time this season.

    "That's important," Sprewell said. "He plays so many minutes. He needs rest."

    Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Eddie Griffin grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who sent Portland to their seventh loss in eight games.

    Minnesota led throughout the second half, but Portland was within one at 75-74 when Sprewell hit a 3-pointer with 6:16 to play. He added another with 4:47 to go after the Blazers closed to 80-78.

    The Timberwolves also took advantage of a thinned Portland front-line to gain a 44-32 edge in rebounding. Missing frontcourt players Zach Randolph, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Darius Miles due to injury, Portland went to a four-guard lineup through much of the second half.

    Ruben Patterson led Portland with 25 points. Nick Van Exel had 19 and Damon Stoudamire, coming off a 54-point performance against New Orleans, added 18.

    "We don't have a low post presence right now," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We have to rely on shooting jump shots and you're going to give yourself a slim chance to win when you're shooting all jump shots."

    The Wolves scored the first seven points of the second half to break open a tie game. But Minnesota, which has let numerous second-half leads slip away at home this year, couldn't shake the Blazers until Sprewell got hot late.

    Saunders' lineup changes also produced 40 points from the Minnesota bench. The reserves scored all but two of the Wolves' 24 points in the second quarter.

    Portland led by as many as nine following a 21-4 run in the first quarter, but Minnesota rallied to tie it by halftime.

    "We've got to be a little bit more aggressive," Van Exel said. "(The injured players) are a lot of our offense, so we've got to find somewhere to pick it up."

    Minnesota's Sam Cassell missed his fifth straight game with a strained hamstring. Randolph did not dress for the second consecutive game because of a sore right knee.

    Game notes

    Minnesota center Michael Olowokandi was suspended four games after his fight with Denver forward Nene in the third quarter of the Timberwolves' 93-83 victory in Denver on Friday night. ... Griffin's previous high in rebounds was 16 at Atlanta on Jan. 10, 2003, while with Houston.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 92
    FGM-FGA 35-82 (.427) 36-79 (.456)
    3PM-3PA 8-16 (.500) 7-17 (.412)
    FTM-FTA 6-8 (.750) 13-16 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-32 12-44
    Assists 22 25
    Turnovers 11 14
    Steals 8 6
    Blocks 4 6
    Fast Break Points 13 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 14 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 9 10

    Top Performers

    Ruben Patterson Patterson
    Points: 25
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0