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