Minnesota (45-19) at Portland (30-33)

Fair Currently: Portland, OR
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Wed Mar 10, 2004
  • TV: WFTC, FSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Zach Randolph will make his return from a one-game suspension when the struggling Portland Trail Blazers host the Midwest Division-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.

Randolph, Portland’s leading scorer and rebounder, was forced to sit out Sunday’s 91-71 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers after taking a swing at Utah’s Raja Bell during Saturday’s 91-70 victory over the Jazz.

“When we found out that Zach wasn’t playing, that really hurt us,” Darius Miles said. “We really missed his presence down in the paint. If we had Zach, it would probably be a different story. But they played a good game. You can’t be mad at them for playing hard and beating us.”

The Blazers have lost five of six since winning five in a row from Feb. 18-24. The slump has dropped Portland 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Denver in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Blazers have reached the postseason in each of the previous 21 seasons— the longest current run in the NBA.

Randolph’s suspension left point guard Damon Stoudamire as the only Portland player to appear in all 63 games this season.

The Timberwolves opened a two-game trip with a 105-92 victory at Seattle on Tuesday, which ended a two-game losing streak.

Latrell Sprewell broke out of a shooting slump with 31 points and Kevin Garnett added 29 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which extended its lead in the Midwest Division to three games over second-place San Antonio. The Timberwolves are 2 1/2 games behind Sacramento for the Western Conference’s best record.

Sprewell shot 11-of-23 on Tuesday, including 2-for-8 from 3-point range, after averaging 10.2 points and shooting 34 percent in his previous 10 games.

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