PORTLAND, Ore. — CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard scored 21 points apiece, and the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Minnesota Timberwolves their 11th straight road loss with a 96-93 victory Sunday night.
Portland extended its winning streak to four and improved to 3-0 against the Timberwolves this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns, a strong contender for Rookie of the Year, was the first player on the court in double figures and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves. It was his 25th double-double, the most of any rookie this season.
Ricky Rubio hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 92-90 with 13.1 seconds left. McCollum answered with free throws for the Blazers, and Minnesota couldn’t catch up.
Gerald Henderson made a 3 for Portland with 9:26 remaining to snap a tie. Towns answered with one of his own to even the score at 72.
Henderson wasn’t done. He hit an uncontested jumper to give Portland a lead it did not relinquish. A 3-pointer from Al-Farouq Aminu and a dunk from Meyers Leonard helped the Blazers build a 12-point cushion, its largest of the night.
Another dunk by Leonard that put Portland up 81-74 with 6:12 to go highlighted his 13-point performance.
Minnesota’s six unanswered points to begin the second half cut the Trail Blazers’ lead to three. Gorgui Dieng’s eight third-quarter points helped Minnesota claw its way to a two-point lead heading into the fourth.
As the first half was winding down, the teams traded points. Leonard’s 3 helped the Blazers go into halftime leading 48-39.
Minnesota entered ranked last in 3-point attempts this season and No. 29 in 3-point percentage at 32.4 per cent. The Timberwolves went 0 for 5 on 3s in the first half.
Portland shot 22.2 per cent from beyond the arc overall (6 for 27).
Timberwolves: Portland coach Terry Stotts on Towns: "He is probably the lead candidate for Rookie of the Year."
Trail Blazers: McCollum hosted young journalists from Madison High School for "CJ’s Press Pass." … The Trail Blazers wore UCC T-shirts to remember the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting last fall. During the game, the team honoured several of those who responded to the tragedy.
Timberwolves: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Trail Blazers: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.