Blazers Shut Down T'Wolves


With his big, bruising teammates clogging up the middle, Portland's Damon Stoudamire took over from the outside.

Stoudamire scored 16 points during a key third-quarter run and the Trail Blazers held Kevin Garnett to just 11 points in an 88-81 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

"One of those things," said the 5-foot-10 Stoudamire, who hit two 3-pointers during the run. "My teammates were getting me the ball and my shots were falling."

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  • Stoudamire and Steve Smith each finished with 18 points for Portland, which won for the seventh time in eight games. Scottie Pippen had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.

    "Rasheed (Wallace) defensively played Garnett tough," Stoudamire said. "Kevin's been playing so well that when you do that defensively, it puts a lot of pressure on them."

    Wallace and the 7-foot-3 Arvydas Sabonis harassed Garnett into shooting just 4-for-24 from the field. Garnett, who missed the rim completely on a number of shots, needed a free throw with 39.8 seconds left to keep alive his string of 138 straight games in double figures. He finished with 19 rebounds.

    "Sometimes I over-focus," Garnett said. "Tonight I focused on Wallace. I worried too much about him and it got me frustrated.

    "I just couldn't get into the flow."

    Wally Sczcerbiak scored a career-high 26 points and Terrell Brandon had 22 for the Timberwolves.

    "What Portland did was take away our first option," Sczcerbiak said. "Kevin is our go-to guy. He did a great job, honestly, of finding people."

    Garnett had seven assists, but his teammates also shot poorly. The Timberwlves shot a season-low 34 percent from the field.

    Trailing 40-36, Portland outscored Minnesota 24-12 at the start of the third to take a 60-52 lead with 3:13 left. Stoudamire was 7-for-7 from the field during the run.

    Minnesota missed 14 straight shots between the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth to fall behind 72-58 with 7:55 left in the game. The Wolves went scoreless for more than six minutes.

    Sczcerbiak's three-point play with 2:31 left brought Minnesota within 78-72, but the Timberwolves were unable to get closer the rest of the way.

    Portland coach Mike Dunleavy won for the 300th time in his career. He is 300-337, but has a 91-53 mark in two-plus seasons with the Blazers.

    "It just proves that if you stay around long enough you can get anything," said Dunleavy. "The first 100 came quick. 200 took a long time and 300 came quick."

    The Blazers missed their first seven shots of the game and fell behind 6-0. But Wallace led them back with 10 points in the quarter and Portland only trailed 20-19 going into the second.

    Minnesota also scored the first six points in the second quarter to take its biggest lead of the game, 26-19. The Blazers battled back again to within 38-36, before Brandon's 20-footer at the buzzer made it 40-36 at halftime.

    Notes

  • Portland concluded its longest road trip of the season, six games in nine days.
  • Portland swept last year's season series, winning three games by an average of 11.7 points. The Blazers lead the all-time series 35-5, although Minnesota has won three of the last six at home.
  • Portland shot just 38.2 percent from the field.
  • Minnesota entered the game leading the league in assists with 27.6 per game. Against Portland, the Wolves only had 17, including four by their starting guards.
  • Starting Friday in Denver, the Timberwolves will play five straight games against sub-.500 opponents.
  • The 81 points was Minnesota's lowest output this season.

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