Szczerbiak scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, when the Timberwolves erased a 14-point deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 84-74 Wednesday night.
The Timberwolves scored 33 points in the fourth quarter after a 39-point final period against the Lakers last week. Szczerbiak made a key 3-pointer late in the game as the Timberwolves won their fourth straight, sweeping a four-game road trip.
The win is great, but Szczerbiak wonders why it had to come with the late drama.
“We just have to play looser—we come out and we seem like we’re so scared. I don’t know how to explain it,” Szczerbiak said. “We’ve got to let it all hang out like we did in the fourth quarter at the start of the game.
“We can’t jab at our opponent, we’ve got to come out with haymakers and put them away right away.”
The Timberwolves rallied from an 18-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Lakers 113-108 last Friday. Their 39 points was the most they’d scored in a final quarter since a club-record 46 against New Jersey on Dec. 26, 1997.
Some of the stats from Wednesday: The Blazers managed 13 fourth-quarter points to the Timberwolves’ 33. Portland had six turnovers, while Minnesota shot 60 percent from the floor.
Quite the rebound from an uninspired start.
“It was an ugly win, but we’ll take it,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We know we didn’t play well. It would be great if everybody was Miss America, but tonight wasn’t one of those.”
Zach Randolph had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have lost six straight, including Tuesday night’s 130-85 loss in Phoenix. Portland has lost eight of its last nine games.
“I think we got a little shaken in that fourth quarter and before you knew it, they had a two-point lead,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said.
Szczerbiak’s 3-pointer with 1:07 left made it 79-72.
After trading the lead back and forth in the first half, Portland built a 41-40 edge at halftime and went ahead 50-44 on rookie Martell Webster’s 3-pointer.
Webster’s fast-break 18-footer made it 59-48 late in the third quarter, and the fans at the Rose Garden started to show some enthusiasm at the prospect of a possible upset.
The energy faded in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
Garnett had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Jaric added 19 points for Minnesota, which has won six straight against the Blazers.
The Timberwolves were without reserve guard Troy Hudson, who did not play because of a sore knee from Monday’s 91-77 victory over Utah.
The Blazers remain without forward Darius Miles, who has been on the inactive list with cartilage damage to his right knee since Sunday. Miles will have arthroscopic surgery, but it is not known how long he will be out, the team said Wednesday.
Webster finished with 13 points.
Blazers center Joel Przybilla fouled out midway through the final quarter with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“It could be inexperience or maturity, but I’m not going to blame it on that,” Przybilla said of the Blazers’ troubles. “We’re all professionals and we have to find a way to win.”
Telfair, at 20 years, 182 days old, and Webster, at 19 years, 3 days, are the youngest backcourt in modern NBA history. The previous mark was held by Cleveland’s LeBron James (19 years and 14 days) and Dajuan Wagner (20 years, 343 days) when they started together at Seattle on Jan. 13, 2004. Telfair and Webster made their debut together last Sunday.