Portland (10-9) at Minnesota (13-7)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Dec 14, 2004
  • TV: NBATV, FSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Portland Trail Blazers begin a stretch of playing 14 of 18 contests on the road when they open a six-game trip with a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Blazers end their trip Dec. 22 against Milwaukee, then return to Portland for a three-game homestand. They play eight of their following nine on the road, including another six-game trip from Jan. 9-18.

Portland has lost three straight and six of eight away from home.

However, the Blazers are now heading to the road with two wins in their last three games, including a 98-88 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday. The starters got the points, but it was the subs that gave Portland a push when it was needed most.

“That’s what it’s going to take for us to win—we’ve got to get all our guys involved,” said high-scorer Zach Randolph, who passed the praise on to Ruben Patterson, Darius Miles, Joel Przybilla and rookie Sebastian Telfair.

The Blazers led by as many as 11 points, but the Jazz narrowed the gap and even took a short-lived lead late in the third quarter before Portland regained control.

Miles helped spark the comeback with a dunk that gave the Blazers a 73-70 lead early in the fourth quarter. Przybilla’s bank shot to beat the shot clock pushed the lead to 82-72.

“We came off and contributed a lot for the team,” Patterson said. “That’s what we’ve got to do every game.”

Randolph led the Blazers with 23 points, while Derek Anderson and Damon Stoudamire each added 15 points. Patterson and Miles finished with 10 each, while Przybilla had nine rebounds and four points.

“Ruben and Darius and Sebastian gave us a huge lift, with great defense. And Przybilla had probably his best stretch this season,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said.

Minnesota lost for just the second time in nine games Saturday, falling 99-88 on the road to the Chicago Bulls.

The Wolves trailed by 24 in the second quarter and rallied within one in the final period, but couldn’t get the lead because Ben Gordon scored 10 straight points for the Bulls at one juncture, hitting a pair of 3-pointers.

Sam Cassell scored 17 points, but Minnesota shot just 36 percent.

“We didn’t deserve to win this game, plain and simple,” Cassell said. “We came out lackadaisical. They made shots when they were supposed to make shots and Ben Gordon had the game of his life.”

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