Trail Blazers almost fall for trap game, scramble for win

Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, left, and Minnesota's Kevin Love battle for a rebound in the first quarter of their NBA basketball game Saturday.<BR><I>AP?photo</i>

PORTLAND - The Portland Trail Blazers were looking ahead on the schedule, and Minnesota almost made them pay.

Brandon Roy scored 31 points and the Blazers had to scramble for a 95-93 victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday night.

"I think we kind of overlooked them a little bit, and guys were getting ready for the Lakers," said Roy, whose team hosts Los Angeles on Monday.

Ryan Gomes, who had a season-high 28 points for the Timberwolves, did his best to earn Minnesota its first win since Feb. 18 as his long 3-pointer with 10.6 seconds left got the Wolves within 94-93. Roy made one of two free throws, leaving Minnesota with a final chance, but Randy Foye's open 3-point try missed and the Blazers beat Minnesota for the eighth straight time.

The Timberwolves, with the fifth-worst record in the NBA, have lost nine in a row and 17 of their last 19.

"We have some stuff to keep working on, but I thought the guys worked hard," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "That's all we keep asking: to work hard every night."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Travis Outlaw had 14 points and nine rebounds and Nicolas Batum added 12 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, winners of 11 straight at home and eight in a row over Minnesota.

The Blazers' winning streak over Minnesota is the longest active run in the NBA.

Portland bounced back from a lackluster 106-90 loss to Denver on Thursday and moved into a tie for second place in the Northwest Division with Utah, a half-game behind the Nuggets.

But Portland played poorly in the first three quarters, never leading by more than six points. With the Western Conference-leading Lakers next up on Portland's four-game homestand, the Timberwolves didn't seem to garner their attention. A fan holding up a "Beat L.A." sign on the big screen during a third quarter timeout received an enthusiastic cheer.

"The message (to the Blazers) is that when you are playing teams below .500, they're not the top teams, but you've got to come with focus and a sense of urgency," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

Foye scored 23 points, including 10-of-10 on free throws after sitting out Friday's 110-90 loss to the Lakers with a bruised hip. Playing with a sore groin, Sebastian Telfair had 18 points and seven rebounds against his former team.


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