Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Wednesday, November 2nd
Trail Blazers86Final
Game 2: Wednesday, December 7th
Trail Blazers74
Game 3: Friday, December 23rd
Trail Blazers91Final
Game 4: Friday, February 3rd
Trail Blazers89

Trail Blazers 91

(8-18, 3-11 away)

Timberwolves 83

(13-11, 8-5 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 23, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 22 26 16 2791
    MIN 24 25 21 1383

    Top Performers

    Portland: R. Patterson 23 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 24 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Randolph, Patterson lift Blazers past T-Wolves in Minnesota

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ruben Patterson didn't let a bum right ankle keep him from controlling both ends of the floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    "We call him 'animal' for a reason," teammate Juan Dixon said.

    Patterson scored a season-high 23 points and held Wally Szczerbiak to one shot in the fourth quarter to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 91-83 victory on Friday night.

    Zach Randolph had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Blazers overcome coach Nate McMillan's ejection and win for only the third time in 14 games.

    Szczerbiak led the Timberwolves with 26 points, but Patterson locked him down in the fourth quarter, holding him scoreless and keeping him out of the flow of the offense in a contentious game.

    "Ruben Patterson was the X-factor tonight," Minnesota's Kevin Garnett said. "When they needed a big play, he got it. He was ferocious."

    He wasn't the only one.

    The Blazers dominated the boards, outrebounding first-place Minnesota 47-30, and took advantage of a miserable fourth quarter by the Wolves to get their first victory against a division opponent in seven tries this season.

    Portland also attempted 24 more free throws than the Timberwolves, shooting 22 in the final period alone, which was a sore spot for the home team.

    Garnett had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Wolves, who scored only 13 points in the final period and were rattled by what they perceived to be poor officiating.

    Minnesota center Michael Olowokandi was also ejected in the game, picking up two quick technicals from official Monty McCutchen after arguing about a loose-ball foul.

    "It was all game long," Olowokandi said after picking up six fouls in 14 minutes. "I felt like I wasn't getting any breaks. I couldn't do anything without getting a foul."

    Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey was visibly upset about the officiating and only offered a terse "No comment" when asked about it after the game.

    "I probably should have gotten thrown out," said Casey, who worked the officials all game long, but never crossed the line like McMillan did. "I thought keeping our calm and being cool and collected was the way to go."

    Olowokandi seemed to agree.

    "I wish someone would have stood up to him the way their coach did," Olowokandi said.

    When asked if he was referring to Casey, Olowokandi said, "It could be anybody, a player with a little more stature, anybody. ... Sometimes you have to bring more attention to the situation."

    The young Trail Blazers seemed to be galvanized by McMillan's ejection.

    "He lit a fire," Randolph said. "We had a couple bad calls, coach addressed them. Everybody stepped up, everybody played good."

    McMillan was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul for arguing with officials.

    McMillan picked up both technical fouls, his second and third of the season, for arguing offensive foul calls on center Joel Przybilla. It is the first time McMillan has been ejected this season.

    Assistant Dean Demopoulos took over for McMillan.

    "Those two calls were not fouls," McMillan said. "What was said was said, what was done was done. I thought the rest of the game we got the calls we deserved."

    Olowokandi was tossed in the fourth quarter in the midst of an 18-4 Blazer run.

    He said he sensed from the opening tip that the officials were a little antsy on Friday night.

    "It has a lot less to do with the game and more to do with agendas," Olowokandi said.

    Nevertheless, the Blazers completely out-hustled the Timberwolves, forcing the officials into their corner.

    "The refs gave them a lot of calls," Garnett said. "They felt like they were the more aggressive team. ... Some of the calls had us back on our heels, but we have to make the plays. We can't blame the refs for us not getting aggressive."

    Game notes

    Blazers G Sebastian Telfair missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right thumb. ... Casey was asked what he was doing for Christmas. "Getting ready for Phoenix," he said. ... Przybilla, who left the University of Minnesota early, was roundly booed. ... Przybilla and Garnett received double technicals after jawing at each other in the second quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 83
    FGM-FGA 31-70 (.443) 32-76 (.421)
    3PM-3PA 2-9 (.222) 4-13 (.308)
    FTM-FTA 27-40 (.675) 15-16 (.938)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-47 6-30
    Assists 19 22
    Turnovers 15 13
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 17 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (4/0) 29 (6/0)
    Largest Lead 8 8

    Top Performers

    Ruben Patterson Patterson
    Points: 23
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 24
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2