The Portland Trail Blazers have beaten two of the NBA’s perennial powers to open play at home this season. They’ll try for similar success against one of the league’s weaker clubs.
Coming off a dramatic victory, the Trail Blazers look for a fifth consecutive victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at the Rose Garden.
Brandon Roy made a 30-foot jumper as time expired in overtime to give Portland (2-3) a 101-99 win over Houston on Thursday. It was the Blazers’ second home win in as many games this season after beating San Antonio 100-99 on Oct. 31.
“We’ve beat two of the best teams in the NBA in our building. And we have another game at home,” said Roy, who had 17 points against the Rockets. “We’ve just gotta believe.”
Because after this contest, Portland begins a five-game road stretch Monday at Orlando. The Blazers are 0-3 away from the Rose Garden this season after dropping their final five road games in 2007-08.
Portland looks to further add to its momentum heading into that trip as it tries for a sixth consecutive home victory over Minnesota (1-4), which has lost four in a row overall.
Roy, who is averaging 19.0 points on the season and 21.5 points with 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game at home, hit the improbable game-winner Thursday moments after fouling Houston’s Yao Ming on a shot that resulted in a three-point play that put Portland down by a point with 0.8 seconds left.
“I saw it fall in the net and I was like, ‘Wow, that was an unbelievable show,’” Roy of the final shot. “It was a blessing from above.
“In this league we’re never out of it. It was a great shot and I’m just happy to get the win for my team.”
Roy is averaging 24.0 points on 50 percent (43-for-86) shooting in his last five games versus Minnesota.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and nine rebounds Thursday for the Blazers, who are averaging 100.5 points at home compared to 89.3 on the road. Aldridge is averaging 18.4 points on the season and 25.0 at the Rose Garden.
Minnesota, which went 7-34 away from home last season, opened a three-game road stretch with a 121-109 loss at Sacramento on Friday. Minnesota lost 129-125 in overtime to San Antonio on Wednesday after allowing an average of 93.0 points in its first three games.
“We are not committed individually and we are not committed as a team,” Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. “That’s the way we played.”
In his first start, rookie Kevin Love scored a season-high 20 points and added eight rebounds against Sacramento after posting 14 and nine rebounds against the Spurs. This will be the first game in Portland for Love, who is an Oregon native.
Al Jefferson had 14 points and nine rebounds Friday while failing to record a double-double for the first time this season.
Jefferson is averaging 20.6 points and 11.6 rebounds on the season and 22.3 and 11.0 boards in his last four games against Portland.
Minnesota, which last beat the Blazers in March 2007, won 84-74 on Dec. 7, 2005 for its last victory in Portland.