Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Timberwolves 91

(28-29, 12-16 away)

Trail Blazers 83

(22-32, 14-12 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    5:00 PM ET, February 27, 2005

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 24 32 18 1791
    POR 22 26 21 1483

    Top Performers

    Min: L. Sprewell 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Por: N. Van Exel 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Timberwolves snap five-game road losing streak

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Latrell Sprewell took over, and the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves went along for the ride.

    Sprewell scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just more than a minute left, and the Timberwolves beat the Portland Trail Blazers 91-83 on Sunday night.

    "Spree was active tonight and we just sort of followed his lead," teammate Kevin Garnett said. "We all just played off him tonight."

    The victory snapped Minnesota's five-game losing streak on the road, dating to a 92-83 win at Portland on Jan. 22.

    The Timberwolves also swept the Blazers in their four-game series this season. It was the first time Minnesota swept Portland since the team joined the NBA in 1989-90.

    Nick Van Exel scored 26 points for the Blazers, who have lost six of their last eight. The two wins came against Charlotte and Atlanta, who rank at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

    "We lost. We had a chance. Same old story," Van Exel said tersely.

    Trailing by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, the Blazers rallied to tie it at 74 on Van Exel's 3-pointer early in the fourth.

    The Blazers wouldn't let Minnesota pull away. Van Exel's 3-pointer with 4:25 to go tied it again at 81, and after Garnett's reverse layup, Ruben Patterson tied it at 83

    Sprewell's 3-pointer put the Timberwolves up 86-83 with 1:06 left before Wally Szczerbiak hit another one with 36.4 seconds left to seal it.

    "Wally's was a little bigger, but it was nice to get two threes late in the game to win it," Sprewell said.

    Garnett had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which evened its record to 3-3 under Kevin McHale. The Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations took over for fired coach Flip Saunders on Feb. 12.

    "We're trying to get an identity a little bit," McHale said. "Everybody had a clean slate when I took over, but I'd rather be 40-15 with Flip coaching right now."

    The Blazers were coming off a 102-101 victory over Atlanta Friday at the Rose Garden, when Zach Randolph had 31 points and 12 rebounds. On Sunday, Randolph got into foul trouble late in the third quarter and played sparingly the rest of the way. He finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.

    The Timberwolves, coming off a 98-88 loss at Seattle on Friday, were hurting. Forward Eddie Griffin went on the injured list Friday with a broken finger in his left hand. Center Michael Olowokandi did not play because of a hyperextended right knee. He also has had the flu.

    That didn't cause them much trouble against the Blazers, especially in the first half.

    Minnesota used a 10-2 run capped by Fred Hoiberg's 20-foot jumper to take a 45-35 lead in the first half. Sprewell's 3-pointer made it 56-48 at the break.

    "Latrell Sprewell reminds me of all the guys I played with," McHale said. "He's got personality and he knows the game. A little personality never hurt anybody."

    The Blazers narrowed it to 68-63 in the third quarter on Darius Miles' fast-break layup but Garnett scored the next six points -- including a pair of dunks -- to put Minnesota ahead 74-63.

    The Blazers and the Timberwolves are both trying to catch the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    "It's just the urgency of knowing that we have to get in it," Sprewell said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to help us get in it."

    Portland's chances appear to be quickly growing dim. It doesn't help that the Detroit Pistons -- with former teammate Rasheed Wallace -- are headed to Portland on Tuesday.

    Patterson suggested the Blazers just need get mad.

    "We've got to compete every night because we've got a fight," Patterson said. "We've got to bring that anger out, man."

    Game notes

    Blazers center Theo Ratliff has a clogged right tear duct causing swelling and light sensitivity. He played Sunday wearing protective eyewear. ... Portland rookie guard Sebastian Telfair returned after missing Friday's game with a sprained ankle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 83
    FGM-FGA 36-84 (.429) 30-75 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 7-19 (.368)
    FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 16-20 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-38 13-46
    Assists 27 19
    Turnovers 7 18
    Steals 8 3
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 19 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (1/0) 21 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 14 7

    Top Performers

    Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
    Points: 27
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Nick Van Exel Van Exel
    Points: 26
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0