(SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard has been cool
in the clutch and the Portland Trail Blazers are reaping the awards.
Lillard and the Blazers shoot for a sixth straight win when they close out a
four-game road trip Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target
Center. The Blazers are 3-0 on the trek following Tuesday's 119-116 victory at
Cleveland, as Lillard nailed the game-winning 3-pointer over Alonzo Gee with
less than a second on the clock.
The talented second-year player, who burned the Detroit Pistons with a game-
winning shot in overtime on Sunday, took the inbounds pass with 7.1 seconds
remaining and knocked down a triple from the top of the key. Lillard's
teammates swarmed him after the big bucket and he finished with 36 points on
11-of-23 shooting, 10 assists and made 8-of-12 from beyond the arc.
"I made a move to get (Gee) off-balance, and I made sure that I was ready when
I froze him," Lillard said.
Lillard is averaging 25.0 points per game in his last three for the Blazers,
who have won five in a row, nine of 10 games and are an NBA-best 22-4 this
season. LaMarcus Aldridge posted 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Wesley
Matthews and Nicolas Batum scored 19 and 14 points, respectively.
Portland surpassed last season's road win total by improving to 12-2 as the
guest and has scored 100-plus points in 13 straight games. The Blazers are
first in the NBA in scoring (108.3 ppg) and will start a three-game homestand
this weekend versus New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami.
Aldridge has posted 10 or more field goals in five straight games and leads
the Blazers with 23.6 ppg and 11.0 rpg. Aldridge, who is probable Wednesday
with a bruised right hand, has tallied four straight double-doubles and is
averaging 25.6 ppg in his last five games.
Minnesota is back home for a quick matchup with Portland and went 1-2 on a
recent road trip, which culminated with Monday's 101-97 loss at Boston.
The Timberwolves entered their meeting against the Celtics with three wins in
the past four games, but couldn't slow down Jared Sullinger, who scored 15 of
his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Wolves star Kevin Love ended with 27
points and pulled down 14 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic posted 13 points and
Dante Cunningham added 12 in defeat.
"We had every chance to win that game; couldn't make a layup, couldn't make a
shot, for our starters it really was a struggle. We just missed too many
opportunities that were right there for us," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.
Love leads the T'Wolves in points (25.0) and rebounds (13.6), and is averaging
30.2 points per game in the last five. In injury news for Minnesota,
Cunningham (ankle) and Kevin Martin (knee) are questionable Wednesday.
Minnesota, which will visit the Lakers and Clippers this weekend, is 0-5 when
failing to score 100 points this season and lost all four meetings with
Portland in 2012-13. The Blazers have won five straight, 21 of 23 and 25 of
the past 29 meetings with the Timberwolves.
Portland is 10-1 in its last 11 trips to the Twin Cities.
The Sports Network