With starting forward LaMarcus Aldridge idled due to a groin
injury, Robinson came off the bench to contribute 14 points, a
career-high 18 rebounds and some important defense on All-Star
forward Kevin Love.
"We were joking, coming back into the locker room (after the game),
calling him 'Thomas Aldridge,'" guard Damian Lillard said. "He was
huge for us. He went out and got a lot of rebounds outside of his
box. He had a lot of tough finishes, ran the floor, protected the
paint. He made some big-time plays that came at the perfect time."
Lillard scored a game-high 32 points as the Trail Blazers (38-18)
rallied from an 18-point, second-quarter deficit. Forward Nicolas
Batum added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which won for
the second consecutive game.
Love, playing center in the absence of injured Nikola Pekovic,
scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who
saw their three-game winning streak end. Guard J.J. Barea matched
his season high with 21 points off the bench for Minnesota (27-29).
The Blazers shot superbly — 48.2 percent from the field, 46.4
percent from 3-point range and 93.8 percent from the foul line. The
Wolves shot only 39.4 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent
(9-for-28) on 3-point attempts.
Minnesota's hit just 32.5 percent from the floor in the second half.
Portland, meanwhile, shot 50 percent in the second half, making
eight of 15 tries from beyond the arc.
"They're good even with LaMarcus out," Love said. "They can put
points up in a hurry, shoot the ball well, and they have one of the
best — if not the best — crowds in the league."
Portland quickly erased an eight-point, halftime deficit, a
3-pointer by Lillard tying the count at 71-71 with 5:49 left in the
third quarter. A Batum jumper pushed the Blazers in front 82-80 with
1:50 to go, and the home team took an 84-80 advantage into the final
[to top of second column]
The Blazers outscored Minnesota 16-6 through the first six minutes
of the fourth quarter to jack their lead to 100-86. The Wolves never
got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"The second half was really exciting," Portland coach Terry Stotts
said. "I loved the energy. It was a very good defensive half for us.
Our attitude, our demeanor coming out at halftime was what made the
Minnesota sank eight of its first nine shots from the field to jump
to an 18-9 lead four minutes into the game. The Wolves increased the
margin to 22-11 and settled for a 34-26 advantage after one quarter.
Love had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting. Lillard scored 13 for the
Blazers in the period, sinking five of seven shots, including two of
two from 3-point range.
The Timberwolves hiked their lead to 52-34 in the second quarter
despite Love sitting out for more than six minutes. It was 60-44
when the Blazers began to climb back, scoring eight in a row to get
within 60-52 at the half.
Love had 17 points and eight rebounds by halftime, and Barea 15
points at the break. Lillard had 17 first-half points.
NOTES: Both teams were short-handed in the post. Portland was
without starting F LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) and backup centers Joel
Freeland (knee) and Meyers Leonard (ankle). Minnesota was minus
starting C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and reserve C Ronny Turiaf (knee)
in addition to starting G Kevin Martin (thumb). Coach Rick Adelman
said Martin might return either Tuesday at Phoenix or Saturday at
Sacramento. ... Portland F Thomas Robinson is the only player in the
NBA to come off the bench for at least 18 rebounds and seven
offensive boards this season. He's the first Blazer reserve to get
18 rebounds in a game since Joel Przybilla in 2008. ... Minnesota F
Kevin Love has scored at least 30 points in five consecutive games
and in nine of his past 11 contests. ... Portland F Nicolas Batum
recorded his third double-double of the season.
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